I get such whiplash. On one hand, we are oft told in the media that assisted suicide/euthanasia are “dignity” and “choice”–that ending one’s own life at the time and in the manner of one’s choosing the “ultimate civil right.”
On the other, some of the same boosters of the culture of death worry justifiably about poor quality medical care and untreated depression in vulnerable populations–as if the two issues exist in different universes! I call this disconnect, Euthanasialand.
Latest example, a story in the Washington Post–which has run many an assisted suicide friendly story–recently published a story about how much depression among eldsters goes untreated. From the story:
By 2030, there will be as many as 14 million American seniors with mental health or substance abuse disorders, up from 5 million to 8 million today, according to the Institute of Medicine. Depressive disorders, along with dementia-related behavioral and psychiatric symptoms, are the most common maladies facing that group. Some experience depression for the first time in older age; others have chronic conditions.“Depression is underrecognized and undertreated in older adults,” Bartels said.
The article makes clear depression combined with any of a number of stressors–including physical illness–can lead to suicidal thinking.
But don’t we want to honor those thoughts? In Beligium, Netherlands, and Switzerland, seniors who are tired of life, lonely, or worried about being widowed are provided lethal overdoses. And the push continues to expand the culture of death anyway.
Hey kids! I have an idea: Let’s legalize assisted suicide!
That would really get the old ’seniors-have-a-duty-to-die-and-get-out-of -the-way” ball rolling.
LifeNews.com Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Human Exeptionalism.