Today marks four years since the highly-publicized death of Terri Schiavo—and the passing of my sister remains an ominous marker of the movement of our government and culture on the value of human life. The average American need only pay passing attention to medical news to recognize that there is a direct assault on the equality and moral worth of all human life.
Millions of deaths occur each year due to abortion, assisted suicide and the dehydration of our cognitively disabled, the chronically ill and the elderly.
A health care system whose mode of medical ethics has shifted from a life-preserving “do no harm” approach to a cost/benefit analysis that essentially identifies who is and who is not “worthy” of treatment only makes matters worse. This dangerous shift has and will continue to add premature deaths to an already staggering number.
But what should really send a chill down every American’s spine is what we see in President Obama’s new “stimulus” bill.
According to a February 2009 op-ed by Cal Thomas, titled “How About a Stimulus for Life?” the new Obama stimulus bill will allow “a Washington official to monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective.” This is what Mr. Thomas calls a one-way ticket to euthanasia. He also warns us that once this euthanasia door is opened, “there will be no closing it and dying will become a patriotic duty when the patient’s balance sheet shows a deficit.”
Perhaps it is just gross apathy, but most Americans seem completely unaware of what is going on behind the scenes at hospitals and hospices across the country—despite the growing number of warnings signs. If these early warning signs are ignored, death will follow in waves.
We would do well to take a lesson from the early coal miners in our nation’s history who took canaries into the mines to detect toxic levels of gases that could kill the miners. If the canary died, the miners knew to vacate the mine immediately, lest they, too, succumb to the gases’ effects.
The reasons for concern are not difficult to find. Just look at the cases of Randy Stroup and Barbara Wagner of Oregon. Both Stroup and Wagner had been battling terminal cancer. When they put requests in to the state for life-extending treatment, they were informed by the state that the treatment that would extend their life was denied; however the state would be more than happy to pay for their assisted suicide (physician-assisted suicide has been legal in Oregon since 1997).