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California and the Expanding Culture of Death

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Starting tomorrow California will join Washington and Oregon to complete an entire West Coast sweep. Our coastal distinctive is that we are an area that has bought into the lie of euthanasia as "death with dignity" instead of what it is: legally allowing some human beings to kill other human beings, or providing them with the means to kill themselves. Californians passed legislation that will go into effect tomorrow, increasing the size of the groups of innocent human beings that we have determined it is morally permissible to kill. 


In 1970, then-governor Ronald Reagan signed the Therapeutic Abortion Act. Back then, obtaining an abortion required an approval process, and no abortions were legal after twenty weeks' gestation. Concerned citizens were assured that this was not the beginning of a  "slippery slope." But Californians have been slipping and sliding down a deadly slope ever since.

California Medicine noted in 1971 that the number of "therapeutic abortions" jumped from 5,000 in 1968 to 60,000 in 1970. According to the latest statistics from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, California is now responsible for the deaths of nearly 182,000 unborn human beings each year. The California population doubled in the intervening years between 1970 and 2011, yet the number of abortions tripled. And this despite the growing presence of pregnancy help organizations.

California currently has no restrictions on abortion: if you can find a physician willing to do it, you could kill a child through all nine months of pregnancy for any reason whatsoever, at taxpayer expense (if you qualified) and without parental knowledge or consent if the female is a minor. Unsatisfied with the current state of the law, California legislators passed -- and Gov. Jerry Brown signed -- AB775, which require pro-life pregnancy resource centers and medical clinics to post conspicuous signs informing their clients of access to low- or no-cost abortions, and providing contact information. That's like requiring every Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to post advertisements for area discount liquor stores. California does not merely allow abortions (which would be bad enough), the state government actively promotes and pays for abortions.


And now California begins down the road of euthanasia. Just like abortion, it will start with some restrictions, but it probably won't be long before many of these evaporate. In Belgium, for example, where euthanasia is legal, people have been euthanized for any number of non-terminal conditions, including depression. How long before we follow our European counterparts?

Not long. The link between abortion on demand and even involuntary euthanasia is well established.

Gary Atkinson, in his essay 'The Morality of Abortion,' published in the International Philosophical Quarterly back in 1974, evaluated in detail all of the arguments advanced for abortion on demand and concluded that, if those arguments were, indeed, justification for abortion on demand, then they were equally justification for involuntary euthanasia. He concludes by warning that rational people will "oppose abortion in self defense."

But we didn't. We embraced abortion and the rationalizations and presuppositions that inform it. Until we have a change in thinking, we will continue to reap the bitter harvest of the bad moral seed we have planted.

In a chilling essay, published by California Medicine in 1970, the writers predicted this link. They fully acknowledged that abortion is "the taking of a human life." They freely admitted that abortion advocates have to resort to a "schizophrenic sort of subterfuge" in order to promote abortion in the midst of a culture where an "old ethic" that values human life is stubbornly persistent. But they were confident that they would be able to overcome that "old ethic" and replace it with a "new ethic" -- an ethic where human beings were just another resource to be "managed." Looking ahead, perhaps to 2016, they wrote,  "One may anticipate further development of these roles as the problems of birth control and birth selection are extended inevitably to death selection and death control whether by the individual or by society, and further public and professional determinations of when and when not to use scarce resources."


It all sounds so cold and clinical, but the calculations have deadly consequences.

Read the essay. You will find that the authors are not shy about whether euthanasia will be voluntary or compulsory, or the role of the coercive state as the agent of action. That was in 1970.

If people refuse to see the connection between abortion and involuntary euthanasia, they will be blindsided when it comes. Like the editorial cartoon years ago by Michael Ramirez -- a woman is lying in a hospital bed, conscious and alert. Her greedy children gather around her, and one of them gleefully reaches for the "plug" to "pull it." She looks at her children and shouts, "I knew I should've aborted you when I had the chance."

Rise up now. Vote for life now. Speak for life now. Otherwise, all that will remain is a faceless government/medical bureaucracy who will determine, based upon their own arbitrary criteria, when you have hit your expiration date.

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