Euthanasia as "Comfort"

April 14, 2011 09:00 AM

A “helium hood” is the latest innovation from the sidelines where folks seem ever more committed to designing their own way of dying. In this case a 91-year-old woman has marketed the “hood” because she believes that people should be comfortable when they are ready to die. Faye Girsh, one of the euthanasia movement’s pioneers, and president of the Hemlock Society of San Diego, does not see much wrong with this business venture, claiming, “If I were his [a person who used the hood to commit suicide] mother, I'd be very upset, but I don't think I'd be very upset because somebody provided a peaceful means to end his life.”

If this sounds a bit contradictory to you, chances are you have not yet fallen for the argument that everyone should have the means available to choose how and when to die. 

And as pro-life stalwart Nancy Valko wrote upon reading this, “This reflects the true agenda and the supreme callousness of the euthanasia movement. I’m the mother of a 30-year-old daughter whose suicide death was called ‘textbook Final Exit’ by the medical examiner. I too am ‘very upset’ but not only by her asphyxia death which was anything but ‘peaceful’ but also with the rabid selfishness of the euthanasia movement which tries to bully everyone—health care professionals, grieving relatives, the unsuspecting public—into accepting their lethal agenda.”

Those who support suicide as a way out of life have been slowly making inroads for many years. Alex Schadenberg, founder of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, wrote in his blog a couple of years ago, “The Final Exit Network has been traveling across the United States using turkey bags and helium (exit bag) to assist the suicides of humans. I wonder why it is considered humane by the Final Exit Network to use helium and a plastic hood while it is inhumane to use gas to euthanize dogs and cats.”

But now that a 91-year-old woman has renewed interest in the helium hood to comfort, you can bet that the pro-death forces will be doing all they can to justify and defend the woman’s creative marketing. What a shame.

Those of us who have followed this deadly trend understand the basic philosophy at work here. Hemlock Society’s founder Derek Humphry, Faye Girsh and others have glorified self-killing and suggested that human suffering should be avoided at all costs. The evil underbelly of such thinking is quite clear. Human beings are never guaranteed a life free of pain and suffering, whether it comes about because of a disease of the body or the mind, the death of a loved one or a serious accident that leaves one debilitated. And it is at times like this that human beings need love and understanding.

But for those with a selfish perspective rather than a selfless one, such a response is not acceptable. This is why they promote killing as compassion and loving as heartless. 

Don’t get sucked in. Leave the helium in the balloons and do all you can to love your neighbor much more than you love yourself. Then and only then will the humane response to suffering become so widely accepted in our culture that the murderous efforts to hawk death will slowly fade away. 

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