Growing old can be very frightening. The thought of being alone after a spouse passes or being neglected in a nursing home are real concerns. I can understand the allure of a pain free death. However, allowing people to choose to be put to death voluntarily to avoid those situations is playing God. Doctors are supposed to save lives, not end them.
Furthermore, there is a case to be made for the “slippery slope” of assisted suicide. In America, the states that allow euthanasia limit the decision to terminally ill patients with 6 months or less to live. However, in the Netherlands, the law states there must be “unbearable suffering,” which is certainly vague enough language. There is already a move towards legalizing euthanasia for anyone over 75, without any reason. One can see where this can easily expand.
The fear is that with mounting health costs along with family and societal pressures, people who may not have chosen this path might feel compelled to do so. Then you can easily see how the age gets lowered over time and suddenly anyone can choose this option for any reason. What was once rare, becomes commonplace.
H/T Life Site
“DIDHAM, Netherlands, August 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — An elderly Dutch couple’s euthanasia deaths are being reported as a beautiful end to a 65-year marriage, but it was fear as much as love that drove them to end their lives.
Nic and Trees Elderhorst, both 91, were voluntarily put to death on July 7 in their hometown of Didham. They died holding hands, surrounded by family, after a six-month bureaucratic process. Their daughters told a Dutch newspaper that “dying together was their deepest wish.”
Double euthanasias are unusual in the Netherlands because a couple rarely both meet the legal criteria at the same time. Currently, however, the Netherlands is seeking to legalize voluntary euthanasia for anyone over age 75.
Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition told LifeSiteNews that the Netherlands wants to use as its standard for permissible euthanasia the concept of a “completed life.”
“The reality is that legalizing euthanasia means that doctors have been given the right, in law, to kill,” he said. “This story accentuates that fact that once a society crosses the line and approves the killing of people by physicians or others, the only remaining question is, who are doctors permitted to kill?”
The story began in 2012 when Nic Elderhorst suffered a stroke that left him with reduced mobility, a plethora of health problems and frequent visits to the hospital. According to the Gelderlander newspaper, he was kept alive by antibiotics. Shortly after his stroke, both Nic and Trees signed “euthanasia declarations” (living wills).
Soon Trees found that her mobility and memory were deteriorating. Although her children, friends and neighbors helped, Trees struggled to take care of her husband. Moreover, the couple was increasingly afraid that the death of one would result in the removal of the other to a care home. Thus, the couple collaborated with their children to apply for voluntary euthanasia.
The difficulty was that Trees, who seemed otherwise in good health, did not qualify for euthanasia under Dutch law. In Holland, a patient must be experiencing “unbearable suffering” — physical or psychological — without any prospect of improvement to be euthanized.
However, a doctor diagnosed Trees with vascular dementia, and she was able to submit a “concrete application” to a euthanasia and assisted-suicide clinic called the Levenseindekliniek.
The Levenseindekliniek was established in 2012 by Holland’s Right to Die society. According to its website, the Levenseindekliniek specializes in “those patients whose requests for assisted dying are almost always denied [by other doctors]: psychiatric patients, people with dementia, or patients with non-fatal diseases.”
As under Dutch law, a person who wishes to be euthanized must understand what they are doing, and so the family wanted to act quickly before Trees’ dementia advanced.
“Soon it became clear that we could not wait too long,” their daughters told the Gelderlander. “The geriatrist stated that our mother was still mentally competent. However, in the event of death of our father, she could become completely disoriented and taken into a nursing home — something that she absolutely did not want. Dying together was their deepest wish.”
Death, apparently, was preferable to the nursing home, and so the two died quietly together.
“They gave each other a big kiss and passed away, confidently holding hands, according to their own wish,” said one of their daughters.“
A society that does not value life may go from allowing euthanasia to encouraging it. We may go from only rare use, to a common choice. We may see it’s use change from terminally ill patients, to people down on life, or perhaps suffering from depression.
I understand the reasoning that this couple had to want to die together. In a way, it seems like a great way to die. But when we allow doctors to play God, we may see our society heading down a very dark path.