Joseph Fletcher wrote in The Ethics of Genetic Control 1988, “The world no longer needs all the individuals we are capable of bringing into it—especially those who are unable to compete and are an unhappy burden to others. If the size of our families must be limited, surely we are entitled to children who are healthy rather than defective”(emphasis mine).
This seems to be the mantra today. Entitlement. Only healthy children need apply to be born, when I want them. On my schedule. There are tests that can be done and if the fetus does not meet expectations the fetus will be aborted. There are new tests, today, for autism after birth. How far away are from diagnosing it in utero? And then what? Can you imagine how many wondrous blessings we would be lacking in our lives if autistic children were aborted?
Abortion started with some restrictions. More than one doctor had to agree. Much discussion took place. We were assured we need not worry. And here we are with unfettered access to abortion-on demand. There are some limits. It is said that one cannot have a sex-selection abortion but many have made their way around that and I have not heard of anyone being charged.
“By omission of any law, an abortion can be performed for any reason at any time throughout pregnancy. Although there is technically no cut-off point at which abortion is prohibited, access to late-term abortions is difficult in Canada. Most doctors refuse to perform them and many clinics have policies that will not permit abortion past 24 weeks. There is, however, evidence that late term abortions are performed in some hospitals and clinics in Canada…”
Abortion morphed into a question of rights. The right of the woman to decide. And now Canada is legalizing the killing of people at the end of life. It is killing them-although we say assisted suicide or death, or death with dignity.
We are told that life is too difficult for them. But, they don’t want to end their own lives-they want the state to do it. And the state has promised that no one will be put to death by accident. And we know there are never any medical errors, ever.
But I suggest that as we are prepared to prevent the birth of those who may be a burden then what will hold us back from taking life at the end-the weak and the old, the disabled; the parent who has become a burden? Surely we will find ways to have that life ended. Why not? We have set a precedent with the liberalization of abortion rights.
We have lost our way. We are the proud descendants of those who fought for life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness; peace, order and good government; all based on an ethic that sits firmly on the belief that all life is sacred. It has become too easy to be dismissive of that statement. Yet look around you-look at most countries in the world where life has no value. Look at the wanton murder of the innocent in the Middle East and North Africa. Look at the devolving countries in Latin America where food is now a premium. Venezuela is falling apart. People are dying from hunger. North Korea starves its people. Life is not held sacred in these countries. Yet here we are living in the most blessed countries with the best medical care and the best economies in the world and we are looking for ways to legally kill the weakest.
We have become spoiled people. Arrogant. Entitled. We are taking life for granted because we have it easy. Too easy. Even the poorest amongst us have a better life than the vast majority of the 7 billion people on this planet and yet, when it isn’t just quite right, quite perfect enough, then I should have the right to demand that you, the state, here to protect me, now kill me.
And the discussion that is taking place is not so much about preventing this action despite the concerns made by many in the medical professionals and ethicists. No. The arguments are about the breadth of the law. Too many are unhappy that more people won’t have access to murder by the state. In the first six months of 2017 Canada just over 800 people received “medical assistance in dying.” And “An additional 167 assisted deaths occurred prior to last June in Quebec, which adopted its own law on medically assisted dying in December 2015.”
It isn’t enough that you be on your last legs. No. We need to offer this right to minors and the mentally ill. We have developed laws over the years to protect minors and the mentally ill from abuse but now let’s give them the right to ask to be murdered by the state; to deny them this right is unfair. It’s ageism regarding the minors and discrimination against the mentally ill. Have we not spent years trying to remove the stigma from mental illness? Won’t this prove how far we have come?
I have a mental illness. I was suicidal. I could have convinced someone to end my life. I was in the abyss. Yet 16 years later, three married children and nine grandchildren, I am grateful that no one could have put me out of my misery.
How did we get to a place where someone who is legally declared mentally ill is legally capable of making a decision to have their life ended?
We spend time and money keeping people from taking their own life because of mental distress and yet there are those fighting for the right of the mentally ill to be murdered by the state. This is theatre of the absurd.
We are a nation without gratitude. We are a people without values and apparently without reason to live.
We take life before it is born and we take life before nature calls.
Who is next?