By Nancy Valko
Years ago, one of my daughters was caught after she did something she knew was wrong. “But it looked so good!” she wailed. I told her that if evil looked like it really was, no one would choose it.
I thought of this incident when I read Kathleen Parker’s June 10, 2016 USA Today op-ed titled “Freedom to kill and permission for sick people to die”.
In the article, Ms. Parker reveals her struggle:
“Here, I should confess my own ambivalence. Basically, I’d like to have the means to end my own life on my own terms when my body has clearly called it quits. I’m just not sure I like the idea of the state and doctors lending a hand.”
Many people can find physician-assisted suicide alluring when they ponder their own potential demise. As a former hospice nurse myself, I recognized this in some of my patients even before assisted suicide was legalized. However, with care and treatment, we were able to help these patients live as well as possible before death. And I never saw a patient go on to die by suicide or assisted suicide.
It is a myth that a personal choice for assisted suicide will not affect others or have far-reaching consequences.
Ms. Parker’s conclusion recognizes this:
“As more than a dozen other states consider similar legislation, it isn’t irrational to wonder whether, in tampering with our medical culture of healing, we aren’t inviting unintended consequences that we’ll live — or die — to regret.”
The truth of her conclusion became starkly obvious when a few days after California’s new assisted suicide law took effect, one doctor immediately opened up a dedicated assisted suicide clinic in San Francisco.
Dr. Lonnie Shavelson, 64 and a long-time supporter of assisted suicide, was an emergency room doctor for 29 year and then spend 7 years at an Oakland clinic for immigrants and refugees before taking a 2 year break.
His new assisted suicide business could be quite lucrative. Although Medicare will not pay for assisted suicide costs, Shavelson says he will charge $200 for an initial patient evaluation. If the patient is deemed qualified under California law, Shavelson said he would charge another $1800 for more visits, evaluations and legal forms.
Like the past so-called “back alley” abortionists, Shavelson defends his business by claiming that “…the demand (for assisted suicide) is so high, that the only compassionate thing to do would be to bring it above ground and regulate it.”
We cannot afford to be ambivalent or tolerant about evil, whether it is abortion, assisted suicide, terrorism, etc. Evil never limits itself because evil always seeks to expand unless it is stopped.
We only have to look at Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium and other countries where assisted suicide has already expanded to direct euthanasia and, in some of those countries, even without consent and for virtually any psychological, emotional or physical condition.
Nancy Valko was a speaker at the 2015 MCFL Annual Convention. She blogs at NancyValko.com
Photo: Alex Wong/unsplash. CC0.