Lately, Americans have been quick to disparage other countries for their approach to life and death issues. In particular, many Americans have been outraged at the Netherlands’ policies regarding euthanasia, assisted suicide, infanticide and the killing of those with mental illnesses.
As Americans, we haven’t been entirely intellectually honest in addressing why these things have become so prevalent in Europe. After all, we would never allow that kind of immorality or degradation of human life. Not in this great nation. Right?
Americans had better look again and take the time to rethink their value systems. Because if you honestly believe such things don’t happen here, I’m afraid you may not be paying attention.
The simple fact is that many of us have been successfully conditioned to accept medical killing as a kind, appropriate and compassionate tactic. A great deal of it goes on quietly and out of the harsh light of public view. But, a growing number of families can tell you in no uncertain terms, it happens every single day in the United States.
Embracing death as a medical solution to human problems is nothing new. The attitude is one that has been promoted for decades. The slow but successful indoctrination of our mostly apathetic general public suggests that it is not only acceptable to kill disabled, elderly and vulnerable people, but that such acts are perfectly justifiable.
Only legal in three states, the number of those who have opted for physician assisted suicide may not be staggering. However, what is positively astounding is the very large number of people who, on a regular basis, fall victim to the practice of deliberately killing the cognitively disabled, the elderly, the mentally ill and countless others who are being starved and dehydrated to death.
With the entire world watching, my sister, Terri Schiavo died seven years ago on March 31, 2005 of a court-ordered dehydration – an agonizing death that lasted nearly two weeks. It may have been the first time most people were witness or even considered that this type of inhumane act could happen to an innocent individual. Sadly, Terri’s case wasn’t isolated – it continues and in every imaginable setting.
It seems clear that much of what is happening almost always includes the talk of money. Because health care has become so astronomically costly, bottom-line thinking and profit have started to outweigh the needs and desires of certain people who live at risk.