Friday, 13 December 2013
Only If They're Terminally Ill...?
The Belgian Senate has voted to extend euthanasia to children. It's being called "voluntary euthanasia for terminally-ill children" but nothing on this earth is going to persuade me that a child is in any way able to "decide" that they want to die.
The scaremongering tactics ("Oh, but the disease has to be terminal and there must be unbearable pain!") are pretty clever. Quite apart from the simple fact that painkilling drugs such as morphine can be given so effectively that pain should not be experienced to that extent if the medical care is being given properly, there are several other points to consider. How much pain is unbearable? How do you quantify it?
I have been in what seemed to be unbearable pain which threatened to go on without any hope of treatment. I wanted to end it all. I actually considered it, but wasn't willing to put my family through the awfulness of coping with my suicide. This was some time before my reversion to the Church. As it turned out, the pain (caused by a combination of (iatrogenic) Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, chondromalacia patellae and the complete erosion of the front of my tibia) was easily treated once a correct diagnosis was made - but it took several years of misdiagnosis and increasingly severe pain before I got there.
Now the pain I was in was not due to a terminal disease, but the doctors I saw said that there was no cure for it. Why should a child in pain for which there is no "cure" be excluded from euthanasia on the paltry grounds that the disease causing the suffering isn't a terminal one? Where does one draw the line?
So, by allowing euthanasia for children in one scenario, the Belgian authorities have opened the way to killing children who are suffering from disorders that their parents cannot cope with, or that the medical establishment cannot afford to cope with...
It will only get worse. We need to pray for our legislators, and pray for the medical establishment.