Pennsylvanians for Human Life Logo - PHL provides educational information 
                                              to approximately 35,000 people each 
                                              year. Pennsylvanians for Human Life Logo - PHL provides educational information 
                                              to approximately 35,000 people each 



Junior Presentation:



Since abortion was legalized in 1973, we have noticed in this country and elsewhere the gradual decline of respect for life in all its various stages and challenges and disabilities.

If we can deny the right to life of the most vulnerable among us, how much easier has it become to question the right to life of the physically challenged, the elderly and those who are suffering. The acceptance of abortion in this country has brought us to a "slippery slope" -where the concepts of infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide are the next battlefronts.

  1. How are abortion, euthanasia infanticide and assisted suicide related? Someone else has decided that the life in question has no value. Does anyone have the right to make a determination on the value of another human life?
    • What is euthanasia? The ending of a human life by another human being
    • What us infanticide? Deliberately causing the death of an infant (usually handicapped) directly or indirectly
    • What is assisted assisted suicide? Providing the physical means for a person to commit suicide.
  2. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are now legal practices in the Netherlands (since 2001). Assisted suicide is legal in the state of Oregon.
    • Legalized euthanasia raises the potential of conflicts within the managed healthcare system where the cost savings represented by euthanasia become more attractive than long-term care
    • Abuses? Duty to die? "Terminal" vs. physically or mentally "unbearable".
    • Please refer to and for very up-to-date info on this topic.
    • Dr. Jack Kevorkian - responsible for 130 deaths
  3. Increasingly, the debate about euthanasia/ assisted suicide/ infanticide centers on the issue of the "quality of life".
    • Is there a consensus on what constitutes a "quality existence"?
    • Peter Singer, Australian bioethicist, whose position on the "quality" of life issue is so strong as to say that "killing a disabled infant in not morally equivalent to killing a person. On staff of Princeton University, he considers the lives of disabled persons not worth living.
  4. What are the pro-life responses to such debates/ trends?
    • When we adequately treat pain and depression, the wish to die usually recedes
    • Hospice care is life-affirming; allowing for patients peaceful death with dignity that allows for love, forgiveness, gratitudes and goodbyes.
    • Compassion - the ability to "suffer with"- is what is truly killed in euthanasia

1. Show the abortion/infanticide/assisted-suicide/euthanasia connection aka “slippery slope”.
2. Show how this is an area of discrimination. Most targeted victims are elderly or handicapped.

Abortion and Infanticide are linked – reasons used to justify killing babies before birth are now being extended to justify elimination of handicapped newborns.


Deliberately causing the death of an infant, usually a newborn with a handicap; either directly or indirectly by refusing to give baby food, water and necessary medical care.

“Infanticide is happening in hospitals throughout the country, even in prestigious medical centers”. Dr. C. Everett Koop.

Infanticide is illegal in every state in this country but most cases are never brought to public attention and no parent or physician has been convicted.

No one has the right to judge that another person’s life is not worth living.
Every human has the basic right to life.

Doctors are not obliged to use “extraordinary” or “heroic” means to save every sick infant, if recovery chance is very poor and would only prolong the dying process.

Indiana Baby Doe case – baby boy born April 15, 1982 in Bloomington, Indiana
Baby was born with a deformed esophagus which prevented normal feeding. He also had Down Syndrome. His parents declined corrective surgery and ordered hospital staff NOT TO FEED or give fluids. People came forward to adopt the baby but the parents refused to give up custody. The parents decision was upheld by Lower State Court and Indiana State Court. For four days the baby cried until he was too weak and six days later, he died.

The Baby Doe Law is the name of an amendment to the Child Abuse Law passed in 1984 that sets forth specific criteria and guidelines for the treatment of seriously ill and/or disabled newborns. The law is controversial in that it dictates what must be done for a child, regardless of the wishes of the parents.

This law mandates that states receiving federal money for child abuse programs develop procedures to report medical neglect, which the law defines as the withholding of treatment unless a baby is irreversibly comatose or the treatment is “virtually futile” in terms of the newborn’s survival. Concerns about a child’s quality of life, are no longer seen as valid reasons for withholding medical care.


Australian Bio-ethicist Peter Singer, Ph.D., chair of the “Ira DeCamp Professor “ at Princeton University’s Center for Human Values, argues that quality of a life should be considered more important than its sanctity.

“Killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all”.

He considers such “non-persons”. (a designation which is also applied to adults) are living lives not worthy of life and thus can be eliminated as useless “burdens” to society.

When comparing humans with animals, Singer often finds animals are the superior race.

Not Dead Yet is an organization of handicapped and disabled persons who object strenuously to Dr. Singer’s theories and beliefs. They oppose “assisted-suicide”. Their web page is

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Assisted Suicide

Providing the physical means or assistance by which a person commits suicide.

A request for assisted-suicide is typically a cry for help. In reality it is a call for counseling and assistance.
Suicidal intent is typically transient. Of those who attempt suicide, but are stopped, less than 4% go on to kill themselves in the next five years.

“If we treat their depression and we treat their pain, I’ve never had a patient who wanted to die”. Dr. William Wood, Time, April 15, 1996, pg. 82

The Hemlock Society in the United States was in existence for 23 years and had an estimated 46,000 members. The original Hemlock Society has split into several different groups including End-of-Life Choices (Denver), Compassion in Dying (Portland), both now merged and controlled by one board with a new name – Compassion and Choices. This wealthy organization is committed to legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia.


Jack Kevorkian is a retired pathologist. He never worked with live patients – he has been obsessed with death and dying during his entire medical career. His nickname is “Dr. Death”.

Kevorkian claims to have been involved in more than 130 deaths in his nine year crusade for legalized assisted suicide.

Kevorkian was found guilty of injecting 46 year old Thomas Youck with lethal injection, thus committing "active euthanasia" on March 26, 1999. He filmed himself injecting Mr. Youck. He then called 60 Minutes and dared them to run it. They did and Kevorkian was arrested.
He was sentenced to 10-25 years in prison. On November 20, 2001, the Michigan Court of Appeals unanimously upheld Kevorkian's second degree murder conviction. He was paroled on June 1, 2007.
During his trial, Kevorkian threatened to go on a hunger strike if found guilty. Within the first week, he announced that he was not ready to die yet and would not go on a hunger strike.

His previous trials, all on assisted suicide charges, resulted in three acquittals and one mistrial.

  • Dr. Klooster was an Alzheimer’s patient, advanced to the point where he was diagnosed medically incompetent. His life insurance was soon to be terminated. His (second) wife contacted Kexorkian. His son sued for custody. The custody battle was won by the son. Kevorkian testified on behalf of the fathers’ ability to determine his future (competency). Kevorkian never met or spoke with Dr. Klooster! The father died several years later of natural causes.
  • Jack Kevorkian and his attorney, Geoffrey Feiger, held a press conference and introduced an elderly woman in a wheel chair. She was in despair with rheumatoid arthritis. The men challenged the medical community to come forward and help put an end to her pain. Kevorkian planned to assist in her suicide in six months if no one could help her. Hundreds of doctors responded and faxed the numbers given, but were never responded to. Six months later, the two men had another press conference to announce that because no one had responded from the medical community, they had successfully assisted in her suicide.

The National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities, ( is an organization vigilant in promoting the inclusion of Catholics with disabilities in their parish communities and the total fabric of society.

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formerly called “mercy killing”. An act or omission, which of itself or by intention causes a person’s death under the pretense of relieving suffering. This type of killing comes with a number of variations.

~ Active Euthanasia: The provision of a lethal agent which is intended to directly cause death.
~ Passive Euthanasia: The withholding or withdrawing of medical treatment or basic care with the intent of causing the patient’s death.
~ Involuntary Euthanasia: Against the person’s expressed will to live.
~ Non-voluntary Euthanasia: When a person’s expressed wish is not known.

What is the difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide?

In euthanasia, one person does something that directly kills another. For example, a doctor gives a lethal injection to a patient.

In assisted suicide, a non-suicidal person knowingly and intentionally provides the means or acts in some way to help a suicidal person kill himself. For example, a doctor writes a prescription for poison, or someone hooks up a face mask and tubing to a canister of carbon monoxide and then instructs the suicidal person on how to push a lever so that she’ll be gassed to death.

For all practical purposes, any distinction between euthanasia and assisted suicide has been abandoned today.

With the increasing emphasis placed on health care providers to contain costs, euthanasia could certainly become a means of cost containment.

»In the U.S., thousands of people have no medical insurance; studies have shown that the poor and minorities are not given access to available pain control, and managed-care facilities are offering physicians cash bonuses if they don’t provide care for patients.
» With greater and greater emphasis being placed on managed care, many doctors are at financial risk when they provide treatment for their patients.
» Legalized euthanasia raises the potential for a profoundly dangerous situation in which doctors could find themselves far better off financially if a seriously ill or disabled person “chooses” to die rather than receive long-term care.
» Savings to the government may also be a consideration. This could take place if governments cut back on paying for treatment and care and replace them with the “treatment” of death.

For example, immediately after the passage of Measure 16, Oregon’s law permitting assisted suicide, Jean Thorne, the state’s Medicaid Director, announced that physician-assisted suicide would be paid for as “comfort care” under the Oregon Health Plan which provides medical coverage for about 345,000 poor Oregonians. This health plan would not pay for pain medication for those with cancer.

Within 18 months of Measure 16’s passage, the State of Oregon announced plans to cut back on health care coverage for poor state residents.

In Canada, hospital stays are being shortened, while at the same time, funds have not been made available for home care for the sick and elderly.

Registered nurses are being replaced with less expensive practical nurses. Patients are forced to endure long waits for many types of needed surgery.

At the present time, the state of Oregon has the world’s only law specifically permitting a doctor to prescribe lethal drugs for the purpose of ending a patient’s life.

An attempt to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Washington State failed in 1991.

The following year, voters in California turned down a similar proposal. Interesting note – during the campaign, euthanasia leaders claimed that all opposition was religious, yet the groups opposing the measure that would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide included the California Commission on Aging, California Medical Association, California Nurses Association, California Psychiatric Association and the California State Hospice Association. In addition, all major newspapers throughout the state, including the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Diego Union Tribune took strong editorial positions against the measure.

A referendum to legalize euthanasia and mercy killing in Michigan failed in November 1998.

On November 7, 2000, Maine voters joined ranks with those in Washington State, California and Michigan by defeating a ballot measure that would have legalized assisted suicide. The measure, The Maine Death with Dignity Act (MDWDA), was placed on the ballot as question 1: “Should a terminally ill adult who is of sound mind be allowed to ask for and receive a doctor’s help to die? The voters responded: 51% no, 49% yes.

The Hemlock Society
and other well-funded special interest groups supported this effort.

Although euthanasia is widely practiced in the Netherlands, it remains technically illegal. Social and legal acceptance of euthanasia began in Holland in 1973. A series of court decisions involving the actions of doctors in various cases began carrying out exceptions in the Dutch laws against homicide and mercy killing. Over time, physicians were granted more and more immunity from prosecution if they facilitated their patients’ death under court defined “guidelines”. In December 1993, a law was passed protecting physicians from prosecution if they euthanize their patients following the established guidelines. Officially, euthanasia is illegal except for the exempted cases in which the physicians follow the guidelines.

On 11/28/00, the Dutch Parliament’s Lower House, by a vote of 104-40, passed a bill to make euthanasia and assisted suicide legal under certain conditions. This new law went into effect in early 2001, making the Netherlands the only country in the world to formally legalize premeditated, doctor-induced death.

In 1995 Australia’s Northern Territory approved a euthanasia bill. It went into effect in 1996 and was overturned by the Australian Parliament in 1997.

For the latest about euthanasia developments throughout the world, see the IAETF Update (International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force)

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Hospice Care

The word “hospice” means a place to rest or “rest and respite”. Hospice is about life and living, NOT death and dying. Today hospice can be experienced in one’s own home.



Palliative Care treats pain.
There is no limit to the amount of morphine that can be given to a patient. Morphine starts with the lowest dose which is 5 mg. Very large amounts can cause hallucinations.

“Compassionate Care” is help for the terminally ill, during the final days, weeks or months. The word “compassion” means to suffer with.

Hospice Care is 24 hour availability.

The hospice team includes:
» a social worker – helps with patient’s adjustment and psycho-social needs.
» minister/priest – body/mind/spirit = GOD
» nurse – it should be the same nurse all the time so they can develop close relationship
» nurse’s aide – bathes the patient, takes vitals, treats wounds. shampoos hair, changes bedding
» volunteers – help in any way, can sit with patient, shop, relieve family members.

They work together in affirming the patient’s life. The goal is to control and manage the pain. They visit 2-3x a week and are on call 24 hours a day.
Most insurance companies and medicare pay for 11% of hospice care. Shouldn't this be 100%?

Dr. Ira Baioff published a study that points out the Five Steps that must be completed for a peaceful death with dignity
»ask forgiveness
» grant forgiveness
» demonstrate love
» express gratitude
» say goodbye

Everyone has a right-to-die. We need a right to good medical care!


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