It’s a very short leap from what Smith calls “one of the hottest and most-dangerous topics in contemporary bioethics” to what is alleged to have happened in New Orleans. And why not take lives at their end? If we’re not created in the image of God, in a secular culture, we judge human life by its value to us—what it contributes—not its inherent dignity.
These factors are why the President’s Council on Bioethics just issued an important report titled Taking Care: Ethical Caregiving in Our Aging Society. The report expresses concern about “the human and moral shape that a mass geriatric society will take.”
We already live in a society where millions of families “face the difficult task of caring for frail and incapacitated elders.” As the numbers increase, an unqualified respect for the sanctity of human life may come to be seen as a “luxury” we can no longer afford.
Fortunately, we are not there, yet. There’s still time to make the case that it’s not a “luxury” but, instead, the basis of any decent society. We must do it now, and not wait until the problem gets out of hand, so that what happened in the Big Easy, the unthinkable, does not become a matter of stated policy.
Spend a year studying with Chuck Colson: Learn how to identify, advocate, and apply biblical truth in every arena of life. Apply for the 2006 Centurions Program. The deadline is November 15.
See the President’s Council on Bioethics report Taking Care.
Kathleen Johnston, “Staff at New Orleans hospital debated euthanizing patients,” CNN, 13 October 2005.
Jennifer Latson and Mark Washburn, “Euthanasia probe begins at hospital in New Orleans,” Houston Chronicle, 14 October 2005.
Caroline Graham and Jo Knowsley, “We had to kill our patients,” Daily Mail (UK), 11 September 2005.
Manuel Roig-Franzia and Ceci Connolly, “La. Investigates Allegations of Euthanasia at Hospital,” WashingtonPost, 15 October 2005, A03.
Wesley J. Smith, “‘Doc Knows Best’,” National Review Online, 6 January 2003.
Rita L. Marker and Wesley J. Smith, “Words, Words, Words,” International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.
See BreakPoint’s research page on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.