Once prohibited — indeed, unthinkable — the euthanasia of people with mental illnesses or cognitive disorders, including dementia, is now a common occurrence in Belgium and the Netherlands.
This profoundly troubling fact of modern European life is confirmed by the latest biennial report from Belgium’s Federal Commission on the Control and Evaluation of Euthanasia, presented to Parliament on Oct. 7.
Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002 for patients suffering “unbearably” from any “untreatable” medical condition, terminal or non-terminal, including psychiatric ones.
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In December, 65 Belgian mental-health professionals, ethicists and physicians published a call to ban euthanasia of the mentally ill.
Seemingly stung by these criticisms, the commission spends two of its report’s pages defending the system, explaining that all is well and that no one is being euthanized except in strict accordance with the law.
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Of course, this ignores the essential objection, which is that, by definition, the mentally ill may be less capable of forming a “true will,” or, at least, that their intentions are intrinsically more difficult for a doctor — or anyone — to establish with the necessary certainty upon which to base a life-or-death decision.
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Euthanasia of people with autism, depression, schizophrenia and dementia in the Low Countries represents a global moral crisis for psychiatry, and all of medicine, that can no longer be ignored.
There’s more at the link. As Borepatch points out, there are also reports that organs are being harvested from the bodies of euthanized patients. This makes it increasingly likely, in a world without meaningful morals or ethics, that someone might be nominated for involuntary euthanasia purely on the grounds of how many others can benefit from his or her organs.
I have no hesitation in calling this absolutely Satanic in its evil. Those who, by definition, have diminished rational capacity cannot give fully informed consent to such a procedure. It’s as plain as the nose on your face that someone is encouraging them, persuading them to make that decision . . . perhaps even making it for them. After all, it’s convenient for the health care system to be relieved of the burden of caring for the mentally incapacitated. If they’re euthanized, the costs and facilities that would otherwise be devoted to their care can be used instead for someone more ‘deserving’ – or not used at all, thereby saving money for the state. How utilitarian can you get?
We’re seeing the beginnings of the same thing in this country, too. Just last month, a woman in California reported that her medical insurance had refused to pay for expensive chemotherapy to treat her cancer . . . but it was quite prepared to pay for euthanasia, if she selected that option! That’s not the first time this has happened. The first case of which I’m aware was in Oregon in 2008. Think about what those insurers are saying to their policy-holders, in so many words. “You’re not worth this much of our money, but you’re worth that much . . . if you let us kill you.” Charming, isn’t it?
Pope Paul [warned] that … the desire for unlimited dominion over one’s own body extends beyond contraception. The production of “test-tube babies” is another indication of the refusal to accept the body’s limitations; so too are euthanasia and the use of organs transplanted from those who are “nearly” dead. We seek to adjust the body to our desires and timetables, rather than adjusting ourselves to its needs.
Many disagree with the teaching of Pope Paul VI, and the Catholic Church, about artificial contraception: but I think there’s little doubt that this was a prescient warning. We’re seeing it in operation in the euthanasia policies of the Low Countries. Nature is no longer allowed to take its course; it’s ‘helped along’, willy-nilly.
Think about this from your own perspective as you grow older. I’m very familiar with this, after years as a pastor, so I can put myself into the shoes of a patient fairly easily. You begin to lose your ability to concentrate . . . you can’t remember things that happened fairly recently . . . you may not recognize people you’ve known for years.
One day, a doctor you hardly know starts talking to you about ‘medical options’ and ‘procedures’ and your ‘right’ to be free from pain, fear and worry, and he pressures you to sign ‘just a simple form’ for ‘further treatment’. One month later, he sticks a needle in your arm, and you ‘fade to black’.
Your organs are harvested for distribution to others (at a fat profit to the hospital, but none to your estate), and your relatives divide your money and possessions between them. Most of them probably won’t bother to come to your funeral. They’ll be too busy fighting over the spoils.
Welcome to our brave new world.