In a horrifically tragic and ghoulish turn, a Canadian Parliamentary committee has recommended that its nation’s lawmakers legalize euthanasia for sick children whose deaths are “reasonably foreseeable” or who may be suffering with a disability or those who are in the country’s child welfare system.
Even worse – they think the children should be able to make the decision even without parental consent.
Canadian law already allows terminally ill and chronically ill adults to receive medical assistance to kill themselves, but expanding the legal coverage to include children is but one more heartbreaking development in the movement.
Physician-assisted suicide is legal here in America in ten states, as well as Washington, D.C. It’s permitted in Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. People in Montana and California can appeal to judges to grant them legal assistance to end it all.
This cavalier and caustic approach to life and death reflects our current culture, of course. When innocent life is cheapened both before birth and even after, is it any wonder that death would be treated so callously, too?
The medical termination movement is inevitability fanned in a secular culture, whose citizens take God’s seat. In reality, all of us will eventually die, but we believe it’s up to God to determine when.
Scripture makes clear that death is an enemy (1 Cor. 15:26). We’re encouraged to see life as a gift from God (Gen. 2:7). In popular press and parlance, you’ll hear terms like “mercy killing,” but there is really no such thing. The loving thing is to care for our loved ones, and turn over the timing of their death to the Lord.
Once you allow for physician-assisted suicide (when a doctor prescribes, and the patient takes, death-inducing pills) or euthanasia (when a doctor administers a lethal injection – either by patient request or the medical community’s initiative), you can’t stop the logical progression towards a culture of death with no age restrictions and for a wide array of reasons.
Dr. Margaret Cottle, a Canadian palliative care doctor and a longtime valued member of Focus’ Physicians Resource Council, said that in British Columbia, where she lives, medical termination now accounts for nearly 1 in every 20 deaths.
As I’ve said before, allowing doctors to kill, or to assist in death, is like putting fire in a paper bag; it cannot be controlled.
After all, once you accept the premise that someone’s life isn’t worth living, who’s to stop the government, medical community or society from saying someone else’s life isn’t worth the hassle – even if that person wants to live? Even if the family wants to take care of their struggling son or daughter?
It’s a short leap from the so-called “compassion” of euthanasia to the vulnerable being told it’s their “duty” to die. We’ve seen it happen before – and history tends to repeat itself. The possibility of this type of abuse is real.
That’s one reason why we must stand for life, even in the heart-wrenching cases when people are suffering. And in saying this, I don’t want to ignore the real despair both patient and family can face when there’s seemingly no hope of improvement. However, with advances in modern medicine, physical suffering can usually be addressed, and uncontrollable pain is extremely rare.
Ultimately, it is wisest to allow the Author of Life to make the decision of when an individual’s earthly life should end. As humans, our compassion isn’t greater than His. Our stories – even when they are marked by affliction and heartache – can serve a greater good.
I don’t always understand what the Lord is up to, but my theology demands that I must trust difficult circumstances, and hurting people, to our loving God who has made clear that human life is sacred.