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.
- 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
- 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
- What is assisted assisted
suicide? Providing the physical
means for a person to commit
- 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
- Abuses? Duty to die? "Terminal"
vs. physically or mentally
- Please refer to www.internationaltaskforce.org and www.euthanasia.com
for very up-to-date info on
- Dr. Jack Kevorkian - responsible
for 130 deaths
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
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
“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
No one has the right to judge that
another person’s life is not
Every human has the basic right
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
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,
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
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
“Killing a disabled infant
is not morally equivalent to killing
a person. Very often it is not wrong
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”
When comparing humans with animals,
Singer often finds animals are the
Not Dead Yet is an organization
of handicapped and disabled persons
who object strenuously to Dr. Singer’s
theories and beliefs. They oppose
Their web page is www.notdeadyet.org
Providing the physical
means or assistance by which a person
A request for assisted-suicide
is typically a cry for help. In
reality it is a call for counseling
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
“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
Kevorkian claims to have been involved
in more than 130 deaths in his nine
year crusade for legalized assisted
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.
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
His previous trials, all on assisted
suicide charges, resulted in three
acquittals and one mistrial.
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.
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, (www.ncpd.org)
is an organization vigilant in promoting
the inclusion of Catholics with
disabilities in their parish communities
and the total fabric of society.
“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
~ Non-voluntary Euthanasia: When
a person’s expressed wish
is not known.
is the difference between
euthanasia and assisted suicide?
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
With the increasing emphasis placed
on health care providers to contain
costs, euthanasia could certainly
become a means of cost containment.
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
With greater and greater emphasis
being placed on managed care, many
doctors are at financial risk when
they provide treatment for their
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”
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
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
|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,
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) www.iaetf.org
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
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.
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
minister/priest – body/mind/spirit
nurse – it should be the same
nurse all the time so they can develop
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
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
» grant forgiveness
» demonstrate love
» say goodbye
Everyone has a right-to-die.
We need a right to good medical