Tasmania is one step closer to allowing its citizens to end their own lives after the assisted suicide legislation passed in the Upper House yesterday. This is not something to celebrate.
Many people, including Christians, feel conflicted about euthanasia. It can seem more “compassionate” to help a dying person end their suffering.
But there is strong evidence that euthanasia is a slippery slope. And now, Tasmanians will need to be especially vigilant to ensure that this law is not misused in the worst of ways.
Belgium and the Netherlands have had euthanasia longer than any other countries and the first thing we can observe from their experience is that their legal “safeguards” don’t sufficiently protect the most vulnerable.
There are cases of elder abuse, misdiagnosis, and people choosing to end their lives simply to avoid “being a burden.” Shockingly, 69 Dutch people with psychiatric conditions or dementia were euthanised in 2018.
One in five Dutch doctors will allow euthanasia for “tired of life” cases. And worst of all, one in 60 assisted suicides in Belgium occur without an explicit request from the patient.
Clearly, there are very real dangers.
If you’re still unsure, consider these real-life cases and ask yourself if euthanasia was really the most compassionate, just, and only solution for these precious lives…
- A 25-year-old Belgian woman with borderline personality disorder was euthanised at the behest of her parents. The doctor said she did not suffer from depression in the psychiatric sense, it was in the variety of common depression. But, “It was impossible for her to have a goal in life,” he said. “Her parents came to my office, got on their knees and begged me, ‘Please help our daughter die.’”
- Two children aged 9 and 11 were euthanised in Belgium. One had a brain tumour and the other had cystic fibrosis (life expectancy mid-40s and beyond).
- Marc and Eddy Verbessem were 45-year-old blind Belgian twins. Upon hearing that they would also go deaf, they were euthanised believing they had nothing left to live for.
- Pietro D’Amico was a 62-year-old Italian magistrate who was euthanised after being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. His autopsy revealed the diagnosis was incorrect.
- Mrs. De Troyer was euthanized at 64 because she was depressed. Her treating doctors weren’t persuaded that her depression was incurable, but she found others to certify that she was depressed.
Her son had no idea she was being euthanised. He has now become an anti-euthanasia campaigner. He alleges that his mother made a generous donation to the foundation owned by the doctor who finally said she could die because of her depression.
- A Dutch doctor sedated an elderly patient with dementia by drugging her coffee. Whilst the lethal drip was inserted the patient rallied and began to struggle. Her family held her down whilst she was killed.
- A 44-year-old woman was euthanised after a botched sex-change surgery left her looking “like a monster,” in her words.
- A woman in her 20s was euthanised for mental suffering stemming from a history of child sexual abuse.
- A 41-year-old man was euthanised because he struggled with alcoholism.
I could go on… stories like these abound. “Well, that wouldn’t happen in Australia!” people tell me. Well, look at the case of Dr. David Goodall.
Dr. David Goodall was a scientist from Perth. Amid much fanfare and media attention he travelled to Switzerland to receive voluntary euthanasia and he died. But here’s what nobody mentioned…
There was nothing wrong with Dr. Goodall.
He was just aged. He was 104 and for that age he was remarkably astute, fit, and healthy. So, we can’t say the mindsets of many people aren’t already down the slippery slope. We saw it in the advocacy around Dr. Goodall’s case.
When the “sanctity of life” goes, where do you draw the line?
For Christians, the passing of this law is not something to celebrate. Assisted suicide prematurely takes a person’s life, removes the opportunity to minister to them, and takes society down a dark path.