Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A brave new world indeed!

Courtesy of a link at Borepatch's place, we learn that Belgium is now euthanizing - i.e. judicially murdering - the mentally ill and incompetent.  The Washington Post reports:

Once prohibited — indeed, unthinkable — the euthanasia of people with mental illnesses or cognitive disorders, including dementia, is now a common occurrence in Belgium and the Netherlands.

This profoundly troubling fact of modern European life is confirmed by the latest biennial report from Belgium’s Federal Commission on the Control and Evaluation of Euthanasia, presented to Parliament on Oct. 7.

Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002 for patients suffering “unbearably” from any “untreatable” medical condition, terminal or non-terminal, including psychiatric ones.

. . .

In December, 65 Belgian mental-health professionals, ethicists and physicians published a call to ban euthanasia of the mentally ill.

Seemingly stung by these criticisms, the commission spends two of its report’s pages defending the system, explaining that all is well and that no one is being euthanized except in strict accordance with the law.

. . .

Of course, this ignores the essential objection, which is that, by definition, the mentally ill may be less capable of forming a “true will,” or, at least, that their intentions are intrinsically more difficult for a doctor — or anyone — to establish with the necessary certainty upon which to base a life-or-death decision.

. . .

Euthanasia of people with autism, depression, schizophrenia and dementia in the Low Countries represents a global moral crisis for psychiatry, and all of medicine, that can no longer be ignored.

There's more at the link.  As Borepatch points out, there are also reports that organs are being harvested from the bodies of euthanized patients.  This makes it increasingly likely, in a world without meaningful morals or ethics, that someone might be nominated for involuntary euthanasia purely on the grounds of how many others can benefit from his or her organs.

I have no hesitation in calling this absolutely Satanic in its evil.  Those who, by definition, have diminished rational capacity cannot give fully informed consent to such a procedure.  It's as plain as the nose on your face that someone is encouraging them, persuading them to make that decision . . . perhaps even making it for them.  After all, it's convenient for the health care system to be relieved of the burden of caring for the mentally incapacitated.  If they're euthanized, the costs and facilities that would otherwise be devoted to their care can be used instead for someone more 'deserving' - or not used at all, thereby saving money for the state.  How utilitarian can you get?

We're seeing the beginnings of the same thing in this country, too.  Just last month, a woman in California reported that her medical insurance had refused to pay for expensive chemotherapy to treat her cancer . . . but it was quite prepared to pay for euthanasia, if she selected that option!  That's not the first time this has happened.  The first case of which I'm aware was in Oregon in 2008.  Think about what those insurers are saying to their policy-holders, in so many words.  "You're not worth this much of our money, but you're worth that much . . . if you let us kill you."  Charming, isn't it?

This was predicted back in the 1960's by Pope Paul VI in his controversial encyclical letter Humanae Vitae.  The full text is available online, but in brief:

Pope Paul [warned] that ... the desire for unlimited dominion over one's own body extends beyond contraception. The production of "test-tube babies" is another indication of the refusal to accept the body's limitations; so too are euthanasia and the use of organs transplanted from those who are "nearly" dead. We seek to adjust the body to our desires and timetables, rather than adjusting ourselves to its needs.

Many disagree with the teaching of Pope Paul VI, and the Catholic Church, about artificial contraception:  but I think there's little doubt that this was a prescient warning.  We're seeing it in operation in the euthanasia policies of the Low Countries.  Nature is no longer allowed to take its course;  it's 'helped along', willy-nilly.

Think about this from your own perspective as you grow older.  I'm very familiar with this, after years as a pastor, so I can put myself into the shoes of a patient fairly easily.  You begin to lose your ability to concentrate . . . you can't remember things that happened fairly recently . . . you may not recognize people you've known for years.

One day, a doctor you hardly know starts talking to you about 'medical options' and 'procedures' and your 'right' to be free from pain, fear and worry, and he pressures you to sign 'just a simple form' for 'further treatment'.  One month later, he sticks a needle in your arm, and you 'fade to black'.

Your organs are harvested for distribution to others (at a fat profit to the hospital, but none to your estate), and your relatives divide your money and possessions between them.  Most of them probably won't bother to come to your funeral.  They'll be too busy fighting over the spoils.

Welcome to our brave new world.



genericviews said...

They'll be too busy fighting over the spoils.

HAHA! Joke's on them.

Brad said...

Fundies reading more into stuff than is really there.

What we have in many places in Europe is legalized, assisted suicide. The Belgian law specifically says that donors suffering from "unbearable" illnesses may request euthanasia (assisted suicide). This is often terminal cancer that has gone beyond the ability of painkillers to help. However, it can be other illnesses including mental illnesses.

This is all very much on a case-by-case basis. However, if someone truly cannot stand to live any longer, for whatever reason, why should they not be granted a dignified death, rather than spashling themselves on the pavement somewhere?

The organ donation is entirely incidental. Anyone can volunteer to be an organ donor, in case of their death. This includes people who request assisted suicide.

I'm not seeing the problem...

bruce said...

Indeed, my father lived to 93, but I think might have pulled the plug several years earlier if he were allowed. And now I too would like that ability when I feel that life is demeaning and fruitless. He suffered from Parkinsons and left this world tired but very mentally sound until the last few days. A proud and self reliant man with a long and full life, why torture him, when he is ready to go.
What right do we his family have to keep him here, and for Gods sake how can an outsider judge him.
I'm afraid its left over religion impinging on otherwise very smart people who have taken up a cause for which they have no practical experience. And I certainly don't see how this is a matter for government.

Peter said...

@Brad & Bruce: The issue here is not individuals choosing for themselves how to end their lives. It's having others make the choice on their behalf when they don't or can't fully understand all the implications.

Borepatch said...

Brad, I would add to Peter's comment that it is no good to say that something is legalized if you (like me) do not trust the authorities. I would suggest that with the Brexit and Trump votes, I'm not the only one suspicious of them.

Who is charged with keeping the authorities honest? The State. That's not a lot of comfort these days.

Keyser Soze said...

I do not see this trend reversing. Slavery and trafficking in humans body parts (via euthanasia and abortions) will only continue. That market hasn't even reached saturation level, but it will one day:

Rev 18:11-13; “And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore: merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men ".

Seneca said...

This kind of garbage is why I removed my "organ donor" status 7 or 8 years ago. I really don't have a problem with donating my organs should I move on, but since medical professionals are more and more willing and legally permitted to give me that last push if I'm not going fast enough for them, I'm not about to give them any more profit motives to do so.

Organ donation is one of those nice things that you can only have when people trust you to protect their lives. Euthenasia, assisted suicide, etc make that trust impossible.

tweell said...

If someone is mentally ill or have diminished mental capacity, how can that person give true consent to euthanasia? Also, many here in the US (and Belgium) would say I'm mentally ill for espousing firearm ownership, among other things. I'm not planning on leaving this vale of tears any time soon, but that could be changed by drugging me into profound depression (or by forgery). Good thing I don't live in Belgium (or Oregon, for that matter).

If someone really wants to die, they'll find a way. An uncle killed himself, after telling us he was going to do so. He had terminal cancer, and was at the point where he was either drugged into insensibility or screaming from the pain. He didn't ask the government or anyone else to do it, either.

Seventy-odd years ago, there were a lot of people being euthanized in Europe because they were classified as having diminished mental capacity, or deviant mental processes. Have we forgotten already?

Feather Blade said...

I really have to wonder...

Don't the drugs used to euthanize people damage their organs, thus rendering them useless for transplant?

If so...when, exactly, are they removing the organs from these supposedly euthanized people? Before, or after, administering the euthanasia drugs?

graylady said...

Didn't the Nazis do that during WW2.

Larry said...

They started much earlier than that.

roamer said...

This surprises me not at all. I lived in Belgium as a teen while my father was stationed at SHAPE (NATO Military HQ) in the 80's. I'd lived all over the world, in all kinds of environments. This was my first exposure to a Socialist government and how it treated its people.

It left me with indelible impressions about how utterly ruthless and amoral - a.k.a. 'Utilitarian' - a government can be towards its citizens. This is merely the logical extension of that ruthlessness towards those who lack power and influence. I'm quite sure that the politically powerful have no fears about their grandparents falling victim to this.

I would also not be surprised if those citizens with 'unacceptable' political views ended up at the top of the list of volunteers. The next step might well be lowering the degree of diminished capacity needed for conservatives to be volunteered for the program. Possibly even tilting selection based on the desirability of one's organs. After all, they already view us as less than human. Why not exploit and kill us as they would their cattle and swine?

Anonymous said...

Hitler did it first, Aktion T4:

Propaganda for the program involved the media producing a movie about a Dr performing a "mercy killing" of his terminally ill wife.

John Stricker said...

I would be highly, highly surprised if there was any kind of euthanasia in Belgium without the explicit consent of the respective person. Arguments of distrust of government and sanctity of life notwithstanding.
I am myself from Germany, where this is a very controversial issue, precisely because of the atrocities committed during the Nazi regime, as mentioned by Anonymous 8:33. (I grew up in Reutlingen, a middle-sized city not far from the Tötungsanstalt Grafeneck; all school students in the area would go there for an educational school trip at some point in their education. I remember it being very sobering.)
While I agree that in cases of mental illness the ability of consenting may well seem impaired, there is AFAIK a strict protocol, involving several doctors (exception: patients with a terminal illness, where only one doctor is required).
For a first hand report (as well as tons of other interesting stuff) I would like to direct you to the website and blog of the late Pieter Hintjens, a software engineer from Belgium, especially A Protocol for Dying . There is also a reddit AMA with him, and also his twitter account is still online.

Anonymous said...

Making Lemonade out of Lemons?