Saturday, September 19, 2015
What's wrong with Assisted Suicide?
There are assisted suicide "bills" pending in several states. Oregon has had this law in effect for several years now and a while ago, a young lady who found out she had brain cancer, made headlines by going to Oregon so she could have a doctor prescribe her a lethal dose of medication. And we all watched as a judge allowed the estranged husband (who was living with his girlfriend) carry out his wishes of putting his wife, Terry Schiavo, who was sentient but severely brain damaged, out of her "misery" by starving her to death. It took her several days to die and the judge ignored that her family wanted to take her home and care for her. (A Jewish neurologist who had studied the case, wrote me that her death was shameful - she could swallow liquids and could have been fed jello etc even if they removed the feeding tube. What I didn't know at the time was that Fr Pavone who had witnessed this death, said, they stationed several police officers around Terry's bed to prevent anyone from relieving her pain of starving to death by wetting her lips or even feeding her some jello!). Shame on Americans for letting this happen.
For being a society who wants to avoid death at all costs, we seem to be rather anxious to cause the death of others considered a "burden" or too expensive or ? For example Planned Parenthood has terminated the lives of 7 million unborn babies and since abortion was legalized in the USA (also a decision from "the bench" rather than the legislature), 53 million unborn babies have lost their lives to abortion.
Part of the problem with "assisted suicide" is wrong thinking - the prevalent idea is that in a suicide, the person takes a large dose of pills, goes to sleep and never wakes up.
WRONG! When the person starts to go into respiratory failure, he/she DOES wake up but is unable to cry for help and suffers for a while. The so called death penalty where they give a lethal injection is also not instantaneous - the victim takes a couple of hours to die, and is in pain throughout the process.
I watched a lady die - I actually gave her Viaticum ("food for the journey" or last Communion). She writhed in agony. I think most of us die painfully just as it was painful to enter this earth (why a new born baby screams after birth).
Also not only was I the victim of a loved one committing suicide (our Mother took her own life) but also have witnessed the effects of a suicide on loved ones. It took me two years of counseling to get over my mother's suicide. And young people suffer even worse - a young friend of ours whose mother took her own life - she was perhaps 5 or 6 when that happened, still suffers depression and more, even today as a teenager.
That is, if you don't care about yourself, at least realize that if you choose that way to death, it will really hurt those around you (not withstanding what God might have to say about it all when you stand before the Throne of the Lamb).
St John Paul II showed the world many things (and wrote one of the best encyclicals on the evils of abortion) but most important, he showed us how to die with dignity - he, ill and totally disabled with Parkinson's disease, waited on God to take him. Let's pray that all will follow his inspiring example and choose life!