Human Life Under Fire

Doctor_consults_with_patient_(3)In the Netherlands, euthanasia is a legal way for a person with a terminal physical illness to end his life. In the Netherlands, euthanasia is also a legal way for a person with a mental condition to end his own life. As the New York Post reports, a Dutch person can be euthanized if he makes a “voluntary and well-considered” request to die due to his suffering “unbearably” from incurable mental conditions. According to the Post110 people were euthanized for mental disorders in the Netherlands between 2011 and 2014

One of these victims was a man in his 30s, whose only diagnosis was autism. He asked a psychiatrist to take his life, but the doctor declined, saying the case was treatable and citing moral qualms with killing the young man. However, the doctor was required to transmit the request to his colleagues, who determined the case was helpless and administered the killing dose of drugs.

In fact, Dutch psychiatric patients were often euthanized despite disagreement among consulting physicians, according to a new study by our own National Institutes of Health. Sometimes patients refused possibly beneficial treatment, and doctors proceeded with the killing anyway. One woman in her 70s was both mentally and physically healthy, and yet was euthanized on the sole grounds that she was lonely after her husband passed away. The Dutch cannot hold the line on their own laws designed to protect those suffering from mental conditions. And, problems such as these are coming westward, as Canada has recently implemented in establishing a right to “physician-assisted dying.”

The Bible stands in stark contrast to the legalization of euthanasia. Biblically speaking, nobody may purposefully take the life of an innocent person, even if the innocent person asks to be killed (Genesis 9:6; Exodus 20:13; 1 John 3:15; 1 Peter 4:15; Revelation 21:8). This principle of charity protects those whose minds may be clouded by mental or physical issues, or by the pressure of families who want their inheritance or want them to cease “being a burden.” Biblical morality keeps the weaker from being the prey of the stronger, whether in mind or body (Micah 6:8; Matthew 7:12; 1 Peter 3:7).

The Dutch situation should serve as a stark warning: Once the sanctity of human life is compromised, there is no way to prevent even more disastrous consequences than legislators may have intended. There is no way to implement euthanasia policies and avoid putting many people at dire risk. God’s way is right, and God’s way will protect us (e.g., Galatians 6:7).

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- 2017