Practice of euthanasia involves playing God

To the editor:

Scripture tells us in Exodus 20,

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me.

…for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.”

Is the U.S. government becoming a god to the people? And why stop at the government? Part of the medical field also is a god, especially when it comes to euthanasia. The government (judges) in many areas condones euthanasia as it does abortion, The heartbreaking story of Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged Florida woman who had been kept alive for more than a decade by a feeding tube her husband claims she would want removed, captured the media’s attention. The court ruled she must die.

In two government sponsored medical programs in Europe the following occurred “A court reportedly granted deaf identical twin brothers from Belgium who were about to lose their sight the right to legal euthanasia.” And the “United Kingdom euthanizes anyone who may not be near death.”

William D. Duddy, in the St. Augustine Record on Dec. 3, 2012, stated, “(Our politicians’ and judges’) positions on post-birth abortion to gain acceptance along with euthanasia in the not-too-distant future (An ongoing case in Pennsylvania gives evidence to just that with the trial of an abortion doctor indicted for killing infants still survivable after his ‘clinical’ abortion.) I do not know if these things put us on the path of decline as did the Roman Empire, but they certainly do not bode well for future generations of Americans. Yet hope springs eternal.”

The states of Oregon, Montana and Washington permit physician-assisted suicide. Can the other 47 states be far behind? With the European medical plans and the potential for the United States to be involved in Obamacare is it any wonder why Mifflin and Juniata counties’ 11, 378 citizens are concerned as well they should be.

When our president says “…I actually think that the tougher issue around medical care – it’s a related one – is what you do around things like end-of-life.” And “You have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It’s not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance. And that’s part of what I suspect you’ll see emerging out of the various health care conversations.”

What your president said in other words, faceless bureaucrats in Washington – not your family – Washington – will decide. Many seniors today are living with the aid of medicines and medical devices that if unavailable would cause them to suffer unbearably. Might we now being prepared for a time when the government gives the senior a rather inhumane choice: Live without the means to alleviate suffering or nudge them toward an end of life evaluation with the advice of euthanasia being an option? This is not a fictitious thesis – it is already happening.

We all agree that we live longer now. Have you ever thought why? Of course healthier food and good medicine have made the average life expectancy in the United States be at 77.6 years, compared with 75.4 in 1990, as reported in the July issue of the Harvard Health Letter

A 65-year-old American man can expect to live to 81.6; if he reaches the age of 85, he can expect to live to see 90. Women still outlive men-although the gap is closing-but the same demographic pattern holds.

As we grow older health issues arise therefore decisions must be made. Of course we want ourselves or family to be the decision makers.

What we must consider is that we do not control the time or place where we will die. That is in God’s control. It is part of God’s plan. Is the longer life span God’s gift to humanity as He wishes all humanity gain Heaven and that a soul not be lost. Are senior citizens of 85 or 90 years old being given the opportunity for repentance? It is called redemptive suffering.

Ven. Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter, “Salvifici doloris – “The Christian Meaning of Human Suffering” gives great insight into that very important question.

Venerable John Paul II, himself gave us such a beautiful example, in his final days on earth, suffering as he did with such grace.

He explains that we all have to go through pain and suffering, because we live in a world that has sin. God, however, brings us peace and joy by comforting us.

Fr. Yves Conger poses a very legitimate question:

“Every human being undergoes pain, and we all want it to have meaning (and so not despair). Amidst this, always remember: There are two kinds of suffering-redemptive suffering and wasted suffering. Which one will you choose?”

According to Onwuteaka-Philipsen, a Netherlands research group, approximately 8,400 people per year explicitly request euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, at which point physicians must determine whether or not to grant the request according to legal criteria. This results in approximately 2,300 cases of euthanasia and 100 cases of physician-assisted suicide per year which, together, make up 1.8 percent of all deaths in the Netherlands.

Doctors in the UK were responsible for the deaths, through euthanasia, of nearly 3,000 people last year, it was revealed yesterday in the first authoritative study of the decisions they take when faced with terminally ill patients. More than 170,000 patients, almost a third of all deaths, had treatment withdrawn or withheld which would have hastened their demise

The figures, extrapolated from the study, show rates of euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide which are significantly lower than anywhere else in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, where similar studies have been done.

In practicing and receiving euthanasia the person is interfering in God’s plan and that person is playing God.

Diane Logan

Frank Cunningham

Citizens Concerned with Human Life Mifflin Juniata Inc.