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Of Dogs and Men

By Judie Brown

My Google news update on the topic of “euthanasia” always seems to present the same conundrum when I review it each day.

Just recently, for example, I received a story about the Monmouth County SPCA’s efforts to save Puerto Rican dogs that were scheduled for euthanasia. A spokesperson said that the community is very supportive of their efforts. That is great news for animal lovers.

But there is often not such great news for lovers of human beings. Even though each individual human being is created in the image and likeness of God, our fellow humans are not always so loving and nurturing. In the same news summary noted above, I read a report about a New Zealand man whose quest to die with his wife by his side has received sympathy from the local news media. His efforts to achieve death by means of assisted suicide were not criticized, but rather lauded as a simple choice of what he wants.

Along the same lines, reports of California’s assisted suicide law claim it has unforeseen benefits. Among these benefits is the opportunity for more open and frank discussions with doctors about how patients want to end their own lives. In fact, one physician said this law “has created a new standard for how we ought to be helping people at the end of life.”

While we have never considered any act of euthanasia perpetrated on or by a patient to be helpful, a growing number of people do. And that is in large part because of the lopsided coverage this topic has gotten for many years. One neurosurgeon understands this dilemma, however. In a conversation reported by Evolution News and Science, Dr. Michael Egnor says: “A doctor killing a patient is analogous to a pilot deliberately crashing a plane.” The report further states: “Egnor argues that if judges, legislators, or other advocates support killing patients under certain circumstances, then fine, let them do the killing. But don’t corrupt the medical profession on which we all rely.”

These are wise words that all physicians, nurse practitioners, and palliative care providers from one corner of this nation to the other should echo.

In addition, from a purely mathematical point of view, the latest reports tell us that surgical and medical errors have peaked and are now the third leading cause of death in America. One analyst of this deadly trend opines that “death by euthanasia and assisted suicide will . . . enable unscrupulous doctors to cover up their medical errors.”

And there’s the rub. While the nation celebrates no-kill animal shelters and reaches out to save threatened dogs, cats, and other animals, we turn a blind eye to the direct killing of human beings, whether by abortion, infanticide, or the various forms of euthanasia.

What does that say about America?

Saint John Paul II addressed this in his profound encyclical Evangelium Vitae: “‘How is it still possible to speak of the dignity of every human person when the killing of the weakest and most innocent is permitted? In the name of what justice is the most unjust of discriminations practiced: some individuals are held to be deserving of defense and others are denied that dignity?’ When this happens, the process leading to the breakdown of a genuinely human co-existence and the disintegration of the state itself has already begun.”

In the struggle between dogs and men, the dogs are winning. But you can turn the tide.

Pray for our nation.

Teach your children the profound truths about the value and dignity of the human person. Use the CLSP study to teach your children that euthanasia is wrong.

Encourage all people to speak out and defend the vulnerable by becoming activists for life!

This is not somebody else’s challenge; it is yours and mine. Spread the word.