Jaws may have fallen to the floor when an elderly lady stepped foot in a tattoo parlor. She isn’t quite a stereotypical customer.
But for one Canadian grandmother, the tattoo parlor was another errand in her day, as she had the words “don’t euthanize me” etched into her arm, the Catholic News Agency reports.
“It’s drastic, but this very clearly says, ‘I’m going to live until God’s ready for me’,” the elderly woman, Christine Nagel, told Globalnews.ca.
Nagel is a professed Christian who opposes physician-assisted suicide, a practice legalized in Canada in June 2016. She said she is uncomfortable with what she views as disrespect for human life, whether her own or anyone else’s.
“We know that requests to die are often made as a cry for an end to suffering, and this cry is impossible to ignore for those who witness the suffering,” Richard Smith, a Roman Catholic Archbishop in Edmonton, stated in response to the passage of the new legislation. “But the compassionate response must be to provide social, emotional and spiritual support and the best pain management and palliative care possible.”
The Canadian government recently passed federal legislation permitting euthanasia under certain guidelines, TheStar.com reports. Approximately 200 people have used the new law as of October 2016, with cancer, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis cited as most common terminal diseases propelling patients to consider such an irreversible option.
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The Alberta Health Services determined the average age of patients dying under the new provisions to be 67 years.
“All these old people are darned expensive to look after. And they’re cranky. And they’re messy. And you can’t help thinking, ‘This would be a really good solution’,” Nagel told the Catholic News Agency, mourning her beliefs the legislation may be driven more by money than compassion.
This already is happening in the U.S. in states where doctor-prescribed suicide is legal. As attorney Jennifer Popik of the National Right to Life Committee wrote:
In Oregon, cancer patients Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup’s own doctors recommended treatment, but State Health Plan denied their request and reminded them of a suicide option. In practice, the lethal suicide drugs are relatively inexpensive and can be covered by insurance. Shockingly, under the current proposals, as well as under the existing laws, there is nothing to stop the government, or your insurer, from steering you to inexpensive suicide versus treatment.
The new law has sparked controversy within some faith-based hospitals that are opposed to physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. There are reports of priests in the Northwest Territories and Alberta denying funerals to those electing death by such methods, as noted on the death certificates, articulating that such a practice is a “grave sin” contradictory to the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.
In the United States, assisted suicide via lethal doses of medications prescribed by licensed doctors is now legal in five states. Oregon became the first state to legalize assisted suicide in 1997 for patients meeting certain conditions and believed to have less than six months to live – though doctors are often wrong in such predictions.
From there, it has been a slippery slope with other states and the District of Columbia jumping on the bandwagon implementing or currently considering similar legislation.
It is believed 230 people died via doctor-prescribed suicide in the United States in 2013, the Guardian reports.
Mark Penninga, Executive Director for the Association for Reformed Political Action Canada, stated: “A sacred line has been crossed. This decision turns the right to life from something that is objectively fixed and inviolable to something that is subjectively fluid and based on what someone feels it is worth.”