Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me, When I’m 64? A Refutation of the Latest Assisted Suicide Bill

"Injection Syringe 01" by Kuebi = Armin Kübelbeck - Own work. Licensed under  CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
“Injection Syringe 01” by Kuebi = Armin Kübelbeck – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

A bill has been introduced in the Washington D.C. City Council to legalize assisted suicide. And thus yet another battle is before us in the cultural meltdown of our land. Unpleasant though it is, dear reader, consider with me the proposed legislation and why we, as both Christians and those dedicated to Natural Law and the common good, must vigorously oppose it.

As a tool for reflection, I am using an article published recently on the website DCist.com. I present here some excerpts from the article. The full article is here: Cheh Introduces ‘Death With Dignity’ Assisted Suicide Bill. As usual, excerpts from the original article appear in bold, black italics, and my comments are in plain, red text.

Currently, assisted suicide is legal in only four states, but D.C. could soon join that list. (Why am I not surprised? This same city has been among the jurisdictions “leading” the way to legalizing same-sex unions, pot smoking, and now assisted suicide.) Earlier this week, Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) introduced a bill that would allow terminally ill patients with only months left to live the choice to end their life on their own terms.

One thing must be said to fellow Christians: Don’t you ever end life “on your own terms.” That is not for you to say. Your life is not your own. God gave you that life and you are a steward of it, not its owner. Scripture says, You are not your own. For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (1 Cor 6:19-20).

Saying that you can take life “on your own terms” is another way of saying, “Jesus is NOT Lord.” That is a terrible renunciation of our faith. Jesus teaches us clearly of the Cross in our life and its value to us who believe. Any Christian who says that people should be able to end life on their own terms is denying the Cross, denying our faith, and denying that Jesus is Lord and has sovereignty over life. Don’t do it.

And do not be deceived by sugar-coated arguments that seek to represent the philosophy of assisted suicide as anything less than a denial of these central truths of our faith.

Don’t even think of going to the judgment seat of Christ and saying, “I did it my way.” Ponder the callousness of standing before our Lord, who was tortured to death for us, and saying to Him, “I deserved to die with dignity.”

Please consider the thinking behind this euthanasia movement and how unfit it is for any Christian to think this way or even to be supportive of others who do.

Suicide for those who are despondent is tragic. But what is being proposed here is a prideful philosophy by those who are well and of sound mind to coldly and with calculation end their life, or be “supportive” of others who do so.

The preceding appeal is to those who say they have faith. Another approach is given below to appeal to non-believers or “lip service” believers. 

Under the proposed “Death with Dignity Act of 2015,” a mentally competent patient suffering from a terminal illness that’s “likely to result in death within six months” can request medication that would allow them to choose the time, place, and circumstances of his/her death.” … [He or she] can coordinate with his or her attending doctor and a consulting physician about the possibility of assisted suicide. Once both doctors verify the patient’s terminal diagnosis and determine his or her mental competency, the patient can request a lethal dose of medication they can use when they’re ready. …

Asking a doctor to help you kill yourself is like asking a priest to help you sin. It is wrong and an abuse of the purpose of the medical profession. I hope large numbers of doctors will note this and speak up against it. Doctors and nurses are supposed to bring healing and comfort. Causing death is not in not their job description.

Thankfully, increasing numbers of doctors and nurses are speaking out against this abuse of their profession and I hope none of them will allow themselves to be used in this way. Sadly (as with abortion), there will always be those willing to do it, either for money or  because they have wrongfully accepted the premise that helping people commit suicide is “good medicine.”

Rigorous provisions have been included in this bill to protect patients from undue influence or coercion and to ensure that vulnerable populations are protected. 

Sorry, but “rigorous” protections aren’t going to help. Sanctioning the suicide of the sick and dying is going to put pressure on all the sick and dying to “check out” and stop consuming “valuable resources.”

All your rigorous protections are not going to stop a souring of the understanding that those who are suffering and dying are worthy of our care. It doesn’t take a trained sociologist to see how these things will play out. It’s simple: 1. Erode the sacredness of human life as wholly belonging to God, 2. Put such decisions in human hands, 3. Add a little economic pressure and pepper it with insurance limits and long-term care clocks that run out, and  4. Voila! Now that Grandma can decide to kill herself, perhaps she ought to decide to do so. “Really, it’s for the best, given the shortage of resources.”

Sorry Ms. Cheh and all proponents of “death with dignity,” but in the end all we end up with is death, and dignity itself is put to death.

And by the way, don’t you dare suggest that my father, who died after a long illness, did not “die with dignity.” Your little slogan is disrespectful to all who suffer but refuse to take your poison pill or ingest your philosophy.

Some will say that “dignity” is merely a reference to our freedom to choose. But where will this dignity go when the pressure to “end it all” grows and the “choice” becomes an expectation?

Asked if she’s discussed the bill with any other Councilmembers yet and has support on it, Cheh says that she “[hasn’t] really tried to take their temperature” on it, and would rather “let it percolate around the building” than trying to rush it through to Bowser’s desk.

Regardless of what may happen with the bill, Cheh said she’s relieved to have finally introduced it. “I felt a great sense of happiness about it,” she said. “I really think it’s something people should be entitled to have … if somebody is capable of making this decision and wants to do it, they should have that choice.”

Notice that in her reasoning there seems to be no sense whatsoever of the common good. It’s all about personal rights and entitlements. She says that people should be able to take their own lives (if they meet all her rigorous “criteria”), but there is not a word about what impact this might have on others.

Why does any government need to sanction this form of suicide at all?  For those who really want to kill themselves, there is little that can be done to stop them. We’re certainly not going to prosecute them after they’re dead. It’s also unlikely that we’re going to be able to track down the people who slipped them the means to do it.

Why should the government facilitate such behavior by granting it legal status? Why do so many people demand that government sanction their behavior?

The likely answer to this is that we are dealing with something more than concern for the dying here. We are dealing with advocacy for a movement with its own agenda. This is a movement that has existed for a long time in this country. It wants legal standing so as to grow, gain status, become more well-funded,  and draw others to its strange view that suicide is in fact a good thing rather than the awful thing we have always thought it to be. It is a branch of another movement generally called secularism and is another result of moving God to the periphery and man to the center.

Rooted in secularism and, I would argue, pride, the demand to legalize suicide is but another facet of a stone hurled by those who reject the “limits” that faith proposes. They seek to further the notion that man is the master of all things and that there should be no limits placed on our actions by God, organized religion, or religious tradition. Whether this is conscious or not on the part of everyone who advocates this view, I cannot say. But the premises of secularism and anthropocentrism are essential to such an argument winning the day.

To advocates of this sort of secular pride that rejects the authority of God or faith, we can only advance an argument that appeals to the common good:

I cannot prevent you from killing yourself, but please do not ask me to approve of it, or ask our government to fund, regulate, or sanction your death-directed drives. You do not have my support to take what does not belong to you.

In terms of natural law, you ought to consider how your selfish desires will endanger everyone. Cease and desist from your demand that we sanction your view and carefully consider the harm you will bring to the dying, the chronically ill, and the handicapped, whether you intend it or not.

What you claim to offer as optional will soon enough become expected. I don’t know if that is your intention, but it is sure to be the result. Stand down from this misguided notion. Even if you don’t believe in God and even if you think that you actually own your life, please consider that you endanger my life and the lives of others by sanctioning an ultimately self-indulgent notion of suicide.

Think about it! Consider that your insistence on some newly crafted individual right harms the common good in a way that is both unnecessary and unjustified. 

 Here’s a song that once had an innocent ring to it. Now it is more frighteningly real. The song asks, “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?” … or 84, or dying, or chronically ill …

17 Replies to “Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me, When I’m 64? A Refutation of the Latest Assisted Suicide Bill”

  1. Kill the pain not the patient!

    “Rigorous provisions have been included in this bill to protect patients from undue influence or coercion and to ensure that vulnerable populations are protected.”

    Human nature is weak; therefore, there will be abuses. Please liberals, you kill babies even when the ultrasound shows a human face. Liberals, I don’t believe your lies. Murder can be done with closed door, and by corrupted doctors and medical establishments trying to save money. Folks, this is fueled by the population control crowd. They might not want to kill their own parents/grandparents, but the elites DON’T care about your family.

  2. As a society we just don’t know how to deal with death. We fight off tooth and nail the appearance of aging, we down medications and supplements that (allegedly) prolong life, and we pursue medical treatments beyond any reasonable hope of recovery.

    Yet we engage in risky behaviors and think that we get to choose when to call it quits. Really makes my head spin.

  3. I recently heard a speaker on Catholic radio make a comment about supporters of euthanasia, “In their quest to alleviate suffering they eliminate the sufferer!” So true!

    I have a sister in law who is all for assisted suicide and even euthanasia. She once told me she believed anyone should have the right to commit suicide no matter what, and be helped to do so. I was astounded and countered with, well, that sounds okay in theory, but I wonder what you would say if your beautiful 24 year old daughter told you she was tired of living and didn’t see the purpose of it, and next week she’d be committing suicide, so, goodbye and thanks for everything. I told her, you’d probably fight like a tiger to stop her. She became so infuriated by what I said she stormed out of the house and did not come back. And so you can see the hypocrisy in these beliefs. Assisted suicide is for someone I don’t care about. And I believe Msgr. is right, it WILL become an expectation on those who are considered a burden, whether disabled or elderly or both.

  4. As a faithful Catholic and one that has been associated with insurance in one form or another for nearly thirty years, not only am I concerned about the peer pressure that will be placed on the sick and suffering, but I am also very concerned with the financial pressure that will be applied to patients. As with aborition, this will surely only be the beginning of a long slide down a slippery slope. Being familiar with the mathematics associated with government run health care and the massive debt it is already incurring, I can see a time where the patient may be told that there are no other options but death. With cost as the actual motivator, and the patient may never know of other treatment options. It won’t happen right away, but it will happen. My conclusion is based on the math and the country’s inability to maintain the cost. I often think of the false statements meant assure the public that Roe v Wade would never lead to all of the terror that we currently see in America’s current aborition industry. As stated by Monsignor, this will not only place the patient in jeopardy, but those that abhore this evil as well.

  5. I recently witnessed a fatal stabbing in Florida and the wounded man on the ground was begging for his life–crying out for someone to help him. He died moments later. The instinct God has given us for life is very strong within us, first temporally then eternally. God help us suppressing the desire for either one of them.

  6. My cousin’s 103 year old mother was in a nursing home and was supposedly diagnosed with some kind of cancer at this late stage of her life. The daughters had nutrition and hydration withheld from her and she (at 103) lasted almost two weeks before dying. Interesting for someone who was weak from cancer. We understand she was convulsing and had to be sedated much of the time. It wasn’t a pretty picture. God help us.

  7. My understanding is we are in a spiritual war as St. Paul describes in Ephesians 6. Our battle is against principalities and powers – fallen angels and the devil. Angels being messengers they carry wicked messages to pawns – politicians. Depending how that politician is disposed is how the message is received or rejected. The father of lies being a liar and murderer from the beginning is also the father of terrorists. Terrorists concern themselves with numbers – body count. Attrition. When governments wrongly elevate an intrinsic evil to the noble status of a law it obviously would be much easier to trick more people into believing – “believing” that it is not evil. Jesus says repent and “believe.” Jesus taught Himself. To learn your Catholic Faith is to learn Jesus who told us He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the Light of the world. Be sure you choose the right Road my friends.

    The bible says woe to those who call good evil and evil good. From the beginning the devil told Adam and Eve they could be like gods knowing good and evil for themselves – a lie which lead to death. Lies lead to arrogance which leads to disobedience which leads to death. The right way is Truth – Humility which leads to obedience which leads to Life. The inference to Adam & Eve is that they could decide what is good and what is evil apart from God who is Goodness Infinitely. Knowing there are only two ways ultimately and this way of euthanasia is evil it is one more way of saturating the land in darkness. The antithesis, the answer to our culture of death is Life – Jesus.

    Pick up your weapons Catholics. Pick up your Rosary and fight!

  8. Surely, not only will it become an expectation on the terminally ill, but also a grotesque game to play on the terminally ill. If they can’t get the patient to off himself, they will terrify him with every non-lethal pill he takes. And that is human nature, fallen human nature, also. St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!

  9. My father passed away last November after falling and breaking his hip. He was 94. He had Alzheimer’s. He was in pain.

    But ending his life prematurely would not have been dignified. His last weeks he was able to be visited by his whole family, recieve Last Rites, “watch” the Redskins beat the Cowboys one last time with his family all around.

    He could not swallow. He could not move. He could not care for himself. He was small and weak. He had to depend on his family and caregivers for everything.

    It was not dignified. It was beautiful.

    He gave us the best gift a father could give. Those last weeks, days, moments with him gave me so much more than I can tell you. To be able to give for no other reason than pure love, it is the most precious thing a person could experience. It was God given. To him. To us.

    People try to console me with words like “what a relief”. Nope. Not a relief, a crushing loss.

    To the secular who cry “death with dignity” I ask what is your dignity but stupid human pride? That your “gift” to the sick and dying is your blessing in committing the first sin, the one that made the Angels fall out of Heaven as their last act before final judgement, how is that love? You want them to suffer eternal death? Really? Wow. Glad I’m not your mom.

    1. God bless you. My mom just turned 98. She had a devastating stroke 15 years ago after a heart operation to fix a valve. They didn’t think she would make it. We (a brother and me, her daughter) take care of her in her home. She can’t walk, her left side is paralyzed, she regained enough swallow power to be able to eat but can easily aspirate if we’re not careful, she suffered cognitive impairment that is getting worse with age (sometimes like dementia), almost died of congestive heart failure 7 years ago, and while in the hospital for that caught the flu that almost killed her, and had a mild heart attack about 4 years ago. Doctors who don’t know her or us act like we’re criminals for seeking medical attention for her (since she is so disabled, they apparently think we should let something kill her and get it over with). Even in Catholic hospitals. With God’s grace she has weathered all the storms, and with His grace she’ll be with us for years to come. And she tells us she wants to live.

      Will I be relieved when she’s gone? No. Yes, it will help my stress. But every time I think about her really going my heart breaks and I start to cry. I say to God, “Just a little more time.” “Just ’til her next birthday.” “Just until Christmas.” “Just until I’m ready.” (which I expect will be never.)

      One day she will go, and I will fall apart. You are right C Beltz; crushing loss.

      What breaks my heart more than anything is the blatant cruelty and lack of love for elderly parents I hear about all the time. I have known more than a few who have done the “morphine to death” and the refusal of nutrition and hydration. It makes my blood run cold. I do not plan to use hospice for this very reason, unless I can be assured the hospice will not do anything that would cause her death, even incidentally. (I think this is how they are getting around the euthanasia; the morphine kills you at some point and they administer it liberally to elderly people who are near death.) What a frightening world for the weak and sick.

      God bless. I’ll pray for your dad.

  10. I was entrusted with the care of my parents. I thank God for the many graces and strength He provided (then and always), but it was a continual source of grief that medical ‘professionals’ would have them die before their time. They both passed at home. The last time I took Mom to hospital, her Dr. gave her a week… When I brought her home two weeks later, the Dr. said “I don’t understand, I thought she’d be dead by now”. Mom died peacefully, two months after coming home.

    I see a recurring theme in the death cult, two words from the article; “entitled” and “choice”. Behold the ‘mystery of lawlessness’. Having set aside the precepts and ordinances of God Almighty, they seek to enact laws so that (I believe), on some level, their consciences may be at ease. They are, of course, deluded.

  11. Colorado Democrats have also introduced this so called death with dignity. And even on the news they show someone with debilitating disease who wants to end it all and in this way to again influence the watchers to be ‘compassionate’. We see in Europe that this devolves into Involuntary euthanasia and euthanasia for children and the depressed, etc. It is self murder to begin with and goes downhill from there. The news media spread these things with favorable views of the gay agenda or the pot agenda; media does not show the negatives and so the folks in their easy chairs are easily influenced.

  12. My husband saw “Jesus in the Garden” just a week before he died. He had all his mental capacities, always, although his body was racked and destroyed with cancer. Before “seeing Jesus”, he suffered much anxiety about Heaven and forgiveness and I almost daily for six months (upon our learning he was dieing of caner) was reminding him, showing him in Scripture and trying in every way God would give me to show him he was forgiven and Loved by Jesus, and because he was repentant (of whatever) and he truly was wanting Heaven. His anxiety was real and torturous, I would be so bold as to say more or as much as the cancer. He knew there was life after death but it was the uncertainty that he would be forgiven and accepted into Heaven. I can not help but think that if his life had been cut short in those six months that he may not have seen “Jesus in the Garden”, I have to wonder. And I know God’s timing is Perfect, that He knows everything. I asked him if Jesus said anything to him and he said “no, He was just smiling at me” and knowing this man for 37 years, I know he without a doubt did see Jesus. You can not imagine what a gift this has been for me and what a Grace and Mercy this was for my husband. Just thought I would share this with you.

  13. I would like to just remind everyone that the 5th Commandment from God is “Thou shall not kill”

    It is a Mortal sin to kill, and to take ones life deliberately as in euthanasia means you will be sent straight to hell.

    It is not the same as a person who takes their life under depression or mental illness.

    Euthanasia is cold blooded pre meditated deliberate defiance of the 5th Commandment of God.

    It is an act of enforced murder by the person who administers any deliberate lethal dose of medication.

    Death by lethal injection is the punishment given to murderers. Aged, disabled or depressed people should not be allowed to suffer the same fate as the reprobates in society.

    Jesus Christ said He “Came to fulfil the Law and the prophets” that includes the 10 Commandments.

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