Worse Than Fiction

Euthanasia on the Rise

If you believe in the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death, it’s time to watch and pray for those at the end of life, not just the beginning.

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John Stonestreet

In his novel, “Never Let Me Go,” Kazuo Ishiguro tells the story of three young people—Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy—who are repeatedly told, with their classmates at boarding school, that they’re special. But it’s not until they leave school that they learn why: They’re clones whose sole purpose for existence is to serve as organ donors.

Wikipedia describes Ishiguro’s award-winning novel as “dystopian,” that is, one that depicts a “society, usually fictional, that is in some important way undesirable or frightening.”

A colleague of mine pointed me to a recent story out of the UK that illustrates why dystopias are only “usually fictional.”

At the 21st European Conference on Thoracic Surgery last May, a paper presented by a group of Daily_Commentary_9_18_13Belgian doctors reported on “Lung Transplantation with Grafts Recovered From Euthanasia Donors.” Yes, you heard me correctly.

According to the abstract, between January 2007 and December 2012, six patients received pulmonary grafts using tissue from euthanized donors. The abstract states that the euthanasia was carried out “in accordance with state legislation and approval by Ethics Committee.”

The “donors” were described as suffering “from an unbearable neuromuscular . . .  or neuropsychiatric . . . disorder” and had expressed an “explicit wish to donate organs.”

So as not to seem too ghoulish, “Euthanasia was executed by an independent physician in a room adjacent to the operating room in the absence of the retrieval team.”

Or, as Wesley J. Smith summed it up, “One set of doctors killed the patient, stepped out of the room, and another set of doctors entered for the harvest.”

The Belgian doctors’ hope is that “More euthanasia donors are to be expected with more public awareness.”

But as Smith put it, “In a better world, increased public awareness would cause universal public revulsion.” Unfortunately, we don’t live in that “better world.” As long as it’s voluntary, we hear, what’s the big deal? It can help others, they say. As Biola professor Scott Rae pointed out a few months back on BreakPoint this Week, euthanasia is no longer voluntary in the Netherlands, one of the first countries to embrace it. Today, they have what’s called kryptonasia, where doctors make the decision of when a patient’s life should be taken, without input from the patient or the family.

As Wesley Smith concludes, “It’s sackcloth and ashes time.”

In Belgium, where euthanasia is commonplace, double euthanasia is also catching on. Last year, we told you about identical twins insisting on being euthanized after learning they would go blind and lose their independence. More recently, a couple that had been married for 64 years took their lives together surrounded by their family whom, it was said “supported their decision 100 percent.”

When did we become people that support suicide 100 percent?

Smith writes that, with one possible exception, he “can think of nothing more dangerous than making mentally ill and despairing disabled people believe their deaths have greater value than their lives.”

That possible exception is “Having a society accept the idea that it can benefit at the expense of people in desperate need of care–and whose care is very expensive.”

That, I’m afraid, is where we are heading.

Last year, two Oxford professors writing in the journal Bioethics, described a way to facilitate this “benefit.” ThNewsletter_Gen_180x180_Bey asked “Why should surgeons have to wait until the patient has died?” Instead, doctors should “anesthetize the patient and remove organs, including the heart and lungs. Brain death would follow removal of the heart.” This would increase both the number and quality of available organs.

While “Never Let Me Go” is fiction, what I’m describing is fact. Ishiguro’s tale makes the immorality of what’s being done to Kathy and her friends clear. But doctors and ethicists want us to think it’s a good thing in real life.

Sackcloth and ashes, indeed.

Further Reading and Information

BP-Takeaction_91813Worse Than Fiction: Euthanasia on the Rise - Next Steps

While John Stonestreet specifically talked about the twisted medical ethics in Belgium and the Netherlands, the same diabolical practice of killing human beings and harvesting  their organs can and someday will happen here if the Church remains silent.

Read the resources we’ve provided, and disseminate them to your family, friends, and neighbors.


Belgium becomes world leader in organ removal after euthanasia
Peter Saunders | LifeSiteNews.com | March 18, 2013

Another Belgian Double Euthanasia
Wesley J. Smith | National Review Online | July 15, 2013

My Sister's Savior
Jennifer Lahl| BreakPoint.org | July 14, 2009

Euthanasia and Palliative Medicine (Part 1)
Megan Best | Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity | March 29, 2010

Other Resources:

BreakPoint This Week, Everyday Bioethics, Part 1
John Stonestreet, Scott Rae | BreakPoint.org | July 12, 2013


And sorry that it took me so long to get back to this discussion. I've been really ill with a sinus infection.
Okay, it's about protecting people from themselves and protecting others from being encouraged to harm others. Why would I want to let my brother harm himself? Why would I want to encourage a doctor to help my brother harm himself? Why would I want to legalize any of that?
@Ellen M
How is it anything but protecting people from themselves? You are saying that a doctor can not legally carry out the wishes of the paitent, even if they are very clearly the expressed wishes of that paitent, how is that anything other than denying the paitent the right to make that choice for their own supposed good, or in other words protecting them from themselves?

-The Bechtloff
Legalizing or outlawing euthanasia isn't about protecting people from themselves. It's about whether or not to legalize assisted suicide. John Stonestreet makes the case that in the noble pursuit of seeking to end another's suffering, legalized euthanasia is a gross distortion of a government's primary job to protect its people.

Premise: we must protect people from personal suffering.
Solution: annihilate humanity.
No more humans = No more human suffering.

When we start legalizing the ending of human life, where do we stop?
@Ellen M
"Sui-cide = self murder" I'm not sure where exactly in the Bible it says that suicide is self murder.

And frankly even if you can demonstrate that the Bible explicitly condemns suicide, and maybe it does, that would kind of be irrelevant. I'm not necessarily arguing suicide is morally right, I've merely think it's something of a grey area in many cases. That being said, last I checked we don't live in a theocracy, so it's not the government's place to outlaw every single thing God forbids or mandate what he commands. The government should step in when your actions violate the rights of others, not to "protect you from yourself". That sort of theocratic nanny state is not what this country should be or is about.

For a government to step in to protect people "from themselves" is, as C. S. Lewis said, "the worst kind of tyranny".

-The Bechtloff
Bechtloff, I would change your statement:

"...anyone who gave you life has the right to force you not to end it."


"...anyone who gave you life has the right to command you not to end it."

God gives life.
He commands us not to murder.
Sui-cide = self murder.
Euthanasia = assisted murder.
Both suicide and euthanasia are dishonoring of God the Author of Life.

" 'All things are lawful,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful,' but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor." (1 Cor. 10:23-24)

I've witnessed and experienced the devastating effects suicide has on family and community. To state that taking one's life does not affect others is erroneous. I've struggled with near-suicide myself. I know what such struggles are and I praise God that He has kept me from it. I know that such end of life questions and struggles are not easy. However, suicide and euthanasia both state that we know better than God when to end a life.

In regency England, laws and social mores against autopsies for scientific research led to grave-digging, which led to people being paid to dig graves for researchers, which led to paid grave-diggers murdering for profit. How soon before we are murdering (oh, woops, euthanizing!) the infirm -- or poor -- or powerless -- to profit from their organs?
@Richard L. Enison
1) It says kill and not murder for a reason. Not every instance of killing someone is murder. Killing someone in the context of a just war or in self defense for example. So, at the very least the case can be made, that helping someone end their suffering is not murder.

2) I would argue the real evil that leads to forced euthanasia is socialized medicine. After all the one that cuts the check tends to make the rules, so if the government is keeping you alive, it's only reasonable that the government can pull the plug. And I'm pretty sure the Netherlands have socialized health care, if not at least partially socialized.

@Servant at Heart
You certainly have the right to "cry out when a choice is obviously wrong" and by all means do so if you feel so lead by the spirit. But there is a difference between telling someone something is wrong and that they shouldn't do it, and wielding the sword of government to force them to not do it. If it is a choice that does not infringe on another's rights, then to force them to stop is a violation of their natural rights.

For example I believe homosexuality is wrong and I "cry out" against it. But they also have the right to peacefully live out their lives as they see fit and I would lay my life down to defend that right if ever need be.

-The Bechtloff
I would point to John 21:18-19 where Jesus told Peter how he was to die. The writer tells us Jesus told Peter this "indicated by what death he would glorify God". Our death, just like our birth, should glorify God and there is no way taking one's life can glorify God who is the giver of life. We are free to do all manner of things, good and evil. Having that freedom does not mean I, as a believer, should stand by and not cry out when a choice is obviously wrong. That would be the equivalent of watching a person walk toward a cliff and not warn them to stop.
Where do we go from here?
The Bechtloff,

I am inclined, in the natural, to agree with you 100%. But there are two problems with your position:

1. The 6th Commandment. I agree that "Thou shalt not kill" is a mistranslation. The meaning of the original Hebrew is "Thou shalt not murder". The problem is that technically, assisted suicide is murder. At least, that is how it is treated in most of the 50 states (I think Oregon is still the only exception, but I could be mistaken).

2. Possibly because of #1, when The Netherlands legalized active euthanasia, many Christians predicted that it would lead to involuntary euthanasia, and I think even you and I would agree that that is murder. Those predictions were correct. So how do you stop voluntary euthanasia from becoming murder (involuntary homicide) if we legalize it in the U.S.? That wasn't supposed to happen in The Netherlands or Belgium either, but it did.
@Servant at Heart
Or, here's another way to look at it, anyone who gave you life has the right to force you not to end it.

Who, exactly are you to tell someone they may not end their pain? Did you give them life? Do they answer to you for what they do with it? I would extend that question to the rest of the tradcons who wish to outlaw that choice.

It sure would be nice if we Christians approached wielding the sword of government with a little more humility, and started using it to protect people's freedom from those that infringe on it rather than "protect them from themselves". As C. S. Lewis said: "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

Protecting people from forced euthanasia is good, protecting them from euthanasia they chose is a violation of their natural rights.

-The Bechtloff
I agree, Bechtloff. Everyone who decided to start their life has the right to end it.
While I agree that forced euthanasia is wrong, why does that mean no one should have the option? If someone, for example is dying a slow agonizing death, how exactly is denying them the option of ending that pain 'compassionate'? I wouldn't allow my dog to go through that, but I should, for example, force my father to against his wishes?
With forced euthanasia or a ban of it, it seems either way we have the government taking control of end of life choices for the 'greater good'. Is there not the middle ground of allowing individuals the right to make those decisions? Isn't that what a free country is supposed to be about?

-The Bechtloff