Yes, We Have a Culture of Death

Opinion   |   Bobby Schindler   |   Sep 23, 2014   |   1:54PM   |   Washington, DC

According to research reviewed by board-certified medical geneticist and Co-Director of the Down Syndrome Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Skotko, it is estimated that 92 percent of all women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome abort their baby.

World famous atheist proselytizer, Oxford Professor, Richard Dawkins, made headlines when he called it “immoral” not to “abort” down babies “and try again”.

Belgium has legalized euthanasia (with no age limits) for children who have been diagnosed as terminal and with death expected to occur “within a brief period.” If this criteria is met, then the parents—and child!—are to ask in writing for a lethal injection.

proabort30bThe head of Canada’s largest doctors’ group has called child euthanasia an “appropriate” choice under certain circumstances.

Northern Ireland Minister of Justice, David Ford, is considering a change in the law so that it is legal to kill pre-born babies suspected of being disabled.

Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, Peter Singer, believes we should be permitted to lethally inject Alzheimer’s “non-persons”, even if they never asked to be killed.

Currently, there is a strong push advocating the removal of spoon feeding from Alzheimer’s patients if they so requested in an advance directive.

In 2012, a prominent doctor in the UK made the chilling claim that the (NHS) – the publicly funded healthcare systems in the UK (and what most likely Obamacare will look like for us here in the US) – “kills off 130,000 elderly patients every year.”

In a March 2008, New York Times article titled, “Terminal Options for the Irreversibly Ill”, Judith Schwarz, a registered nurse and clinical coordinator for Compassion & Choices of New York (formerly known as the Hemlock Society) openly stated that over one-million people die each year in American hospitals as, “a consequence of someone’s decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment.”

In the same article, Dr. Sidney Wanzer and Dr. Joseph Glenmullen of Harvard University Health Services, noted that in situations where a person is going to stop receiving food and water, “refusal of hydration is faster and less distressing than starvation in hastening death.”

Sadly, these are just a few more recent examples of the life threatening prejudices plaguing the disability community and countless other medically vulnerable. Indeed, this terrible toll does not arise in a cultural vacuum, but reflects attitudes that assume dead is better than disabled. And, there is no doubt, that included in the number of patients dying in this sobering New York Times article, regardless of its title, are those with cognitive disabilities who, every single day, are being starved and dehydrated to death – persons who are not dying, but who are simply living with their disability, and only need basic care – food and water (via a feeding tube) to live.

It was not long ago that feeding tubes were considered basic and ordinary care and therefore it was illegal, an act of euthanasia, to stop feeding and hydrating a person in need of a feeding tube. Today, however, feeding tubes have been redefined as “artificial nutrition and hydration” – and therefore a form of “medical treatment”. Consequently, the removal of food and water from cognitively disabled patients, and countless other medically vulnerable, is now legal, and routine in all fifty states.

In his book, Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America, author and bioethicist, Wesley J. Smith, writes that, “defining ‘artificial nutrition’ as treatment instead of human care was a crucial step in the development of the culture of death.”

According to Smith, as far back as the early 80’s, bioethicists began to debate out loud whether or not “the profoundly disabled and frail elderly were living too long”. In particular, was bioethicist Daniel Callahan, who saw the feeding tube as a serious hurdle, boldly stating that changing its classification from “basic care” to “medical treatment” would be, “the only effective way to make certain that a large number of biologically tenacious patients actually die.”

Eventually, more bioethicists agreed with Callahan’s view, as well as health care professionals, politicians, judges, and others, ultimately accomplishing their goal of redefining the administration of food and hydration via a feeding tube.

Today, either the general public is unaware of this change, or they just don’t care. But if you think dehydrating to death our medically vulnerable isn’t happening, then you are not paying attention.

Whatever the reason, the mainstream media does very little to properly clear up any confusion that may exist, as they continue to report that persons who receive food and water via feeding tubes are receiving “artificial life support”, giving the perception that these people are aided by machines.

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Tragically, too many of us today have become disconnected and desensitized to our own dignity and intrinsic worth. It seems we no longer know how to love, and we place more significance and value on what a person can or cannot do, instead of understanding the value and dignity of the human person, simply because they are human.

As a consequence, every single day, decisions are being made for our medically defenseless to be barbarically starved and dehydrated to death. Not to mention the offensive claim that to slowly dehydrate persons to death over a period of weeks is an act of compassion; that they are somehow experiencing death in a dignified way. This is not compassion, this is not love. This is intentionally killing, and in the most undignified way.

Recently, Germany made the decision to inaugurate a memorial for the people with physical and mental disabilities, who because of their disabilities, were killed by the Nazis after their lives were deemed “worthless.” Estimates of over 200,000 were killed.

Perhaps we should consider erecting one here in the United States.