For the last two years, I have watched as state after state has followed in the destructive wake of Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, and Oregon in enacting laws which authorize physicians and other medical professionals to prescribe or administer lethal doses of drugs. If you have perhaps been at one of our events on the topic of end-of-life care, then you know that I have been increasingly concerned that as we seem to advance the cause of life at its earliest stages we lose footing in protections for the infirm, the elderly, and the terminally ill. As I watch incredibly well-funded national organizations go state to state, I have been increasingly concerned that the next Roe v Wade will legalize death on demand in the form of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
This is not an idle concern and it is not an issue that we can allow to take foothold in our culture any more. Do you know that a 29-year old, otherwise healthy, woman in Holland will commit assisted suicide because she has determined that she cannot live with her mental illness? Did you know that the New England Journal of Medicine recently released a report that uncovered more than 400 patients who died by assisted suicide but who did not request it? If those are too far away to seem real, Canadian healthcare officials and providers are being told that they cannot opt out of providing assisted suicide, leading to numerous “conscience campaigns” and lawsuits by Catholic hospitals. If you are shaking your head and saying that the US is better than that, did you know that under Oregon’s assisted suicide law, which has loopholes big enough to drive a hearse through, an individual with diabetes fits the definition of those eligible to die by physician assisted suicide?
Diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 30 million Americans have diabetes.
Thus, it did not come as any surprise, although it did come with a great deal of sorrow, to learn that within hours of a gathering of the pro-life faithful in the Ohio Statehouse for the annual Roe Remembrance, a local state senator, Charleta Taveres, announced that she would be introducing Oregon-style assisted suicide legislation in Ohio. In doing so, Senator Tavares’ announcement echoed with a familiar refrain, she believes that in the places in the United States where assisted suicide has been given the favor of the law that it is a rare occurrence that allows a patient who wishes to die to access death safely and with the support of loved ones and it should, therefore, be legal. Sound familiar to anyone?
In reality, however, it has been well established by medical professionals, researchers, reporters, and groups like the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition that assisted suicide laws are not as protective as their proponents claim they are. Actual statistics from places with assisted suicide show that the assisted suicide rates are increasing exponentially, and as the rates increase so do the abuses.
It is absolutely true that just last fall the Ohio General Assembly explicitly added criminal penalties for assisted suicide, reflecting the pro-life majority in both chambers of the General Assembly. It is also true that as a member of the Democratic Caucus, which is a substantial minority in the Ohio Senate, Senator Tavares is not likely to see much movement on her proposed legislation. But pro-life voices in Ohio must gird their loins, because this is a battle that is coming for us – in the legislature, via the ballot, or in the courts. Are we ready?
Here is what you can do right now: