I remember as a kid hearing people talk on the radio about doctor-assisted suicide. I had no idea what any of this had to do with the ‘youth in Asia’ but it seemed like people had a lot of different opinions on the subject. Sometimes I wish I still had the innocence of a child.
Fast-forward 25 years and yesterday, Friday February 6th, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada overruled a ban on doctor-assisted suicide. Our government has 12 months to draft legislation around how this process will work.
As a human, I have mixed feelings about euthanasia. There are very few illnesses that have pain so severe that it cannot be controlled by medication. Will allowing doctor-assisted suicide open up a slippery slope where our elderly are offed as soon as their mental faculties are gone? However, for the small minority suffering in pain with a terminal illness perhaps allowing a humane and controlled death is the compassionate way for society to go.
As a Christian, I’m uncomfortable with the moral implications of euthanasia. I believe that humans are unique in the sense that we were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 9:6). The Scriptures also speak to the idea that a person’s death is in God’s hands (Hebrews 9:27; Job 14:5). It’s dangerous when we as humanity decide to start playing God.
Yesterday I was listening to NewsTalk 1010 in Toronto. The show host, Ryan Doyle, was interviewing a Canadian man who helped his wife die eight years ago, because the system in Canada wouldn’t do it. She was in pain from a terminal illness and she had asked him to take her life. When she fell asleep he overloaded an injection of her medication and she passed away. What struck me about the man was the guilt and feeling of wrong doing that he carried. Even though his wife wanted to die, she was suffering, and she asked him to do it; he still felt this immense burden of respect for the sanctity of human life that he was responsible for taking. As he spoke to the show hosts, he said that not a day goes by where he doesn’t feel that guilt. It was kind of like he kept saying that he did the right thing, but he totally did the wrong thing.
There may be a “greater good” argument to be made on this issue, but let’s never forget just how special, unique, and sacred each one of us is. I hope our government handles the drafting of this legislation with extreme care.
What do you think?
Photo Cred: Post Media Vancouver Sun