Of course, we don’t call it that anymore. Now it’s Medical Assistance in Dying. The problem with this new name is that physicians, and nurses, and other medical professionals having been giving assistance to people who were dying for thousands of years. We’ve been giving comfort, care, treatment and sometimes hope. We were not always trying to cure—often we knew that was not possible—but we were never causing the death.
That’s what this is about. It’s not assistance in dying—it’s assistance to die. There is a big difference. The former is called palliative medicine, and, though it is woefully underfunded, the medical professional involved in this do everything possible to ease pain, to give comfort, and to bring peace to a terminal illness. They do not kill.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Canadians have the right to commit suicide and have the right to ask for medical help in doing so. It is suicide. It is active euthanasia. In the minds of many it is wrong. One of the most basic founding principles of medicine—dating back all the way to Hippocrates—is do no harm. Do your best. Use the resources available. Try to cure, to save. But do not intentionally harm.
Now we are being asked to cast that principle aside. Indeed, some wish not merely to ask but to command. Some want to force medical professionals to abandon their own morals and ethics and just do without question whatever is asked of them. Including kill.
At present, it looks like the law being proposed by the federal government will only allow medical assistance in dying for adults in whom natural death is reasonable foreseeable. The proposed law would not allow for assisted suicide in children, the mentally ill, or on the basis of an advanced directive. However, even before it is proclaimed, some are planning to challenge these restrictions in the courts. They want no restrictions at all.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. We live in a culture that values possessions above people; lust over love; power over peace. Increasingly, it is a culture of violence, and is becoming a culture of death.
There is an answer however. It is not physician assisted death. It is Jesus assisted life. Eternal life.
He is the answer.