A Growing Trend to Give Up on Life

Earlier this year, LifeSiteNews reported that an elderly woman in the Netherlands was euthanized because she could no longer bear living with macular degeneration.

An official report on the case, which claimed she had other disabilities as well, said the woman saw no point in continuing her life.

“The unbearable nature of her suffering was due to her loss of the ability to live a meaningful life,” the Regional Committees Annual Report 2010 said. The report explained she had especially enjoyed intellectual challenges, such as reading and using the computer.

While there is no cure for macular degeneration, there are several treatments that slow its progression.  The disease, which attacks the eye’s retina, is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among people 65 and older.

In another case, LifeSite said a 64-year-old Dutch woman was euthanized because she suffered from dementia.  Local media reported it was the first case where a person was killed without their consent.

These recent examples demonstrate that euthanasia, or so-called “good death,” is clearly on the rise in the Netherlands. The practice, which was legalized in 2002, is also becoming more user friendly.

The Netherlands Right-to-Die Association announced last February that it has opened a euthanasia clinic offering door-to-door service for people who can’t convince their regular doctors to kill them, LifeSite reported.

Dutch law even permits families to euthanize a newborn baby that is disabled.

While the Netherlands may be leading the way in euthanasia and assisted suicide, it is not alone.

In this country, while Oregon and Washington are currently the only states that have legalized assisted suicide.  Each year, however, more and more states consider legislation affecting euthanasia and assisted suicide.  Clearly, the broader question of can we afford the cost of caring for the elderly and infirm is growing more widespread.  

Thankfully, earlier this year the Georgia Legislature passed and Governor Nathan Deal signed a law that prohibits assisted suicide in our Georgia.

Such life and death issues were raised during the debate over Obamacare. A large number of people appear to support some form of healthcare rationing, which would primarily target the elderly.  Their thinking seems to be why spend dwindling resources on keeping people alive who really don’t contribute anything?

One way to ease the "burden" is to permit—or even coerce—people to end their own lives, similar to what’s happening in the Netherlands.

In dealing with this issue, its’ helpful to realize that the desire to escape suffering is nothing new.

One of the oldest stories in the Bible highlights this human instinct.  Job, whom God allowed to be severely tested, expressed the desire to end his life.

Aside from his suffering, Job said God had sent him dreams and visions that frightened and terrified him:  “So that my soul would choose suffocation, death rather than my pains” (Job: 7:14-15, NASB).

But God knew better. He had a bigger plan for Job, and it did not involve ending his life.

Dietrich Bonheoffer, the German theologian killed by the Nazis wrote: “The right to the end of life is reserved for God, because only God knows the goal toward which a life is being directed.  God alone wishes to be the one who justifies or rejects a life. ”

Ending a life because of macular degeneration or any other illness is wrong; it goes against all medical ethics.  Most importantly, it violates God’s sovereign will.

No, there is never a time to say enough; there is never a time to give up on life.