A Suicidal Ballot in Colorado

Will the Right to Die Become a Duty to Die?

Coloradans will vote on an assisted suicide measure this November. Those who vote "Yes" are signing their own death warrants.

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John Stonestreet

In a recent article at National Review Online, George Weigel tells a chilling story about just how far the culture of death has advanced in some parts of the West.

Three elderly parishioners at the Canadian church he attends during the summer were diagnosed with cancer. Now, that’s bad enough. But what followed was even worse. The first thing they were asked after being told their diagnosis was, “Do you wish to be euthanized?”

While this story should upset us, it shouldn’t shock us. Despite all the promises made by supporters of physician-assisted suicide, the so-called “safeguards” against pressuring vulnerable people to end their lives “have proved to be inadequate and have often been watered down or eliminated over time.”

Or, as Belgian law professor Étienne Montero observed, “What is presented at first as a right [to die] is going to become a kind of obligation.”

Thus, in fourteen years Belgium went from euthanizing terminally-ill adults, to killing chronically-ill adults, to offing adults who had lost their will to live, to finally disposing of children.

As Weigel’s story suggests, Canada seems literally hell-bent on catching up with Belgium in this regard. Physician-assisted suicide has only been legal there since this spring and it has already  transformed the practice of medicine in Canada. And if some Canadian philosophers get their way, a willingness to kill your patients will be a prerequisite for practicing medicine in the Great White North.

Now it’s Colorado’s turn to play waiting room Russian Roulette. This November my fellow Coloradans and I will vote on Proposition 106, also known by its Orwellian title: “The End of Life Options Act.”

daily_commentary_10_11_16The supporters of the act, which is modeled on California’s recent legislation of the same name, assure voters that a vote for physician-assisted suicide is a vote for “compassion.” They assure us that it will remain limited to cases of extreme suffering.

But as Weigel points out, the language of the proposed act is “duplicitous.” It characterizes killing someone as “palliative care.” And it defines an “adult” as anyone 18 or older, which leads to the absurdity of not being old enough to drink but old enough to request assistance in killing yourself.

And in a backhanded admission of a guilty conscience, the deceased’s death certificate would list the cause of death as the illness they suffered from and not suicide.

If supporters of assisted suicide need to mislead and obfuscate about basic matters such as these, why should we believe their assurances that no one will be coerced into killing themselves? Little wonder that disability advocates oppose the measure.

Colorado history should also give us pause. Thirty-two years ago, then-governor of Colorado, Richard Lamm told a group of health-care lawyers that the terminally-ill elderly have “a duty to die and get out of the way” instead of trying to prolong their lives. He compared the fulfillment of this “duty” to “leaves falling off a tree and forming humus for the other plants to grow up.”

It would be foolish to think that the “right-to-die” won’t, much less can’t, one day become the “duty to die,” especially in an aging society where health care costs as a percentage of the GDP are projected to double over the next 25 years. By the way, also on the Colorado ballot this year is state-run healthcare.

The only way to prevent the “right to die” from becoming a “duty to die” is to reject the “right to die” from the start. Anything else places the most vulnerable—the elderly and especially the disabled—on an already well-greased slippery slope.

Unless the Lord returns, each and every one of us will die of old age, disease, or tragedy. And except in the case of tragedy, if the advocates of so-called compassion have their way, you, I, and our loved ones will end up facing the same question George Weigel’s fellow parishioners were asked: “Do you wish to be euthanized?”

Further Reading and Information
A Suicidal Ballot in Colorado: Will the Right to Die Become a Duty to Die?

For outstanding resources on why and how we should oppose physician assisted suicide, visit www.ColsonCenter.org/prop106. We have assembled articles, videos, and even church bulletin inserts to help you make the case for life.

Available at the online bookstore

The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture
Scott Klusendorf | Crossway Books | March 2009

Stand for Life: Answering the Call, Making the Case, Saving Lives
Scott Klusendorf | Hendrickson Publishers | December 2012


To: knight1009
The lie of Satan is death with dignity. Suicide is self-murder. It is one thing to sacrifice your life for another, but it is totally different to commit a self-centered act of suicide. People who commit suicide fear their life more than they fear death. Jesus calls on us to trust in Him. Those that commit suicide are not trusting in God but committing an act of defiance against God.
One commenter here wrote: "This is the part that i don't understand. As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, why are we so afraid of death?"

This ISN'T about taking a terminally ill person off medical devices. This Proposition 106 IS about giving a doctor the right to intentionally give a suicidal person poison. Christian churches have always been against intentionally killing innocent human beings.
Great article! Let me add that in Oregon (that has helped kill 1,000 people by assisted suicide) the number of suicides by teenagers, veterans and others has gone up substantially --- far more than the national average. It's called suicide contagion and is common in societies that accepts ANY suicide as a "right."
death with dignity
This is the part that i don't understand. As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, why are we so afraid of death? I don't understand the constant opposition from my fellow believers to death with dignity, what is it that we fear?

Are we so afraid of death that we want to prolong our life as long as possble, why so much fear? IF when we pass from this life we go be with the Lord where their will be no more suffering, why so afraid?
Death with No Dignity
You need to publish this in places like the Denver Post and anyplace else you can in the state. Dottie Lamm is heck-bent on convincing everyone that this legislation is the best thing ever as her Post article on Sunday shows. And the Brittany Maynard commercials are running non-stop in Colorado Springs. They want to make a movie now about her courage and right to die with "dignity." It will be nationwide legislation before long.
Partisan Heath Care
You have identified the number one problem with socialized medicine. Thanks for reminding me. It is well known that the majority of the cost of healthcare is incured late in life. What is not well known is that how unjust the denial of providing late in life healthcare is. I have paid health care premiums for 40 years, and to deny me healthcare at this point in my life, is profoundly unjust, but the people who promote the "right to die" are doing just that. As with anything the government does, the costs of providing healthcare will go up and up, becuase the restraints of capitolism are not applied. So, over time, the costs go far beyond what is affordable. So where do the partisans who run healthcare turn when they want to save money? The very people who need it the most. Why? Because they aren't interested in justice, they are interested in partisanship. If you asked these people, who deserves healthcare more, a 90 year old white man with cancer (who has paid health insurance premiums his whole life) or a young transgender person (who has never paid health insurance premiums) who wants gender realignment surgery? The partisan would answer the latter. It is unfortunate that people who vote on these issues do not understand this, that they should never give a partisan person control of a thing like healthcare. This is why "right to die" becomes "duty to die" over time. The proof is in Belgium.