Ruthless Sympathy

May 29, 2015 09:00 AM

 

What is happening in our country when killing is preferable—and acceptable—to selfless love for the suffering? Too many instances lately shine a light on the depravity of this behavior and on our ever-declining treatment of our fellow human beings whom we call “expendable.”

For example, a 7-year-old Massachusetts child is nearly killed and her dad, who tried to take her life by poisoning her with drain cleaner, says he is not guilty of a crime. The little girl was seriously ill and her father argued he was only trying to relieve her of her suffering. 

In New York, efforts are underway to facilitate starvation of patients who are unable to speak for themselves. An online article by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition states: “Senate Bill 4794 would grant an agent decision-making authority to dehydrate a patient even when the patient’s wishes are not known and cannot be determined.” In other words, if this bill passes and is signed into law, it will be legal to kill by dehydration. Rather than keeping a patient comfortable, death will be caused sooner rather than later.

In California, the California Medical Association has decided that it will “drop opposition to what has long been known as ‘physician-assisted suicide.’” This change in policy “reflects a change in patient and doctor attitudes about assisted-death and acknowledgment that there are times when palliative care is not enough to make the terminally ill comfortable.”

In the ever-growing trend toward packaging imposed death as a “choice,” the panoply of selections seems endless. Everything from terminal sedation to denial of food to more overt methods like that employed by the Massachusetts dad can be thought of as ideal options if you want to relieve yourself or someone you love from lingering too long in the hospital, hospice, or at home.

Nancy Valko, RN, provides a word of explanation for the novice in this struggle to defend the lives of the ill from those who want to end life rather than affirm it. She states that terminal sedation is “the deliberate ‘termination of awareness’ for ‘relief of intractable pain when specific pain-relieving protocols or interventions are ineffective’ and/or ‘relief of intractable emotional or spiritual anguish (existential suffering, psychological distress, emotional exhaustion).’ (Emphasis added) An essential component of TS is also the withdrawal of all treatment, including even food and water, so that death occurs as soon as possible.”

Andy Ho also wrote about terminal sedation, telling readers: 

What could be kinder than helping the dying “go gentle into that good night”? Yet, from its name, one would not have known that what ends life is not the sedation but the fact that fluids are concurrently and totally discontinued for the unconscious patient. Such dehydration leads inevitably to death within one or two weeks, even for healthy persons. By contrast, starvation alone, where fluids are not restricted, takes weeks or even months to bring on death. So it is dehydration that kills the patient—unless the disease takes him first. 

While some may find it astounding that the pro-choice-to-die movement is gaining ground, I for one do not. Many years ago the United States of America’s collective conscience lost its will to live when it went along with a 7-man majority on the United States Supreme Court ruling that a human being—a preborn child—was not a person, thus opening the door to abortion-on-demand. Ever since that time the will to kill has been in abundance, but always disguised with some softer, more palatable name such as pro-choice or human rights or compassion in dying. Today the words are the same as the outcomes—dead people.

The father in the Massachusetts case mentioned earlier is not an isolated story. Many fathers have gone before him, including Nancy Cruzan’s father Joe and Christine Busalacchi’s father Pete. In both cases the fathers of these young women felt strongly that living was too much of a burden for their daughters to bear. Sadly, Nancy’s father ultimately committed suicide—a tragic end to a story that began with a desire to prematurely end a life rather than devote oneself to caring for that human being until death.

Where society goes from here we do not know, but we do understand fully that where ruthless sympathy prevails, human beings are in peril. 

Defend life, speak out for the vulnerable, teach the ignorant, and pray for those promoting ruthless sympathy.

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