Assisted Suicide - Navigating life without a steering wheel
The Supreme Court's ruling in Carter v. Canada is yet another indicator that our culture is intent on navigating life without a steering wheel. The fields of Saskatchewan are long gone where the lack of a steering wheel may have be imperceptible, but the rocky mountains will not be so forgiving.
Andrew Coyne of the National Post reports:
In one sense, the decision is narrowly drawn. The Court confined itself to deciding whether the present absolute ban on assisted suicide — the norm in all but a handful of countries, as it has been through most of our history — was “overbroad.” In seeking to protect vulnerable Canadians from abuse, it ruled, the law also caught in its net competent adults who had freely chosen to end their life — or rather, who had invited someone else to end it for them, a hitherto crucial distinction the Court does not trouble itself with. As such, the law encroached upon the right to “life [sic], liberty and security of the person” more than could be justified under the Charter’s “reasonable limits” clause.Our ability to mitigate pain and suffering, our wealth, and our understanding of science are the greatest they have ever been in history, but pride and arrogance have grown right along side. Given that our forefathers did not think assisted suicide was a good idea, and they had a lot more terminal and painful diseases, we should all pause and consider carefully this decision that was made. It will have wide ranging consequences as Andrew Coyne writes:
First, it is clear from the ruling that the “enduring and intolerable suffering” that would confer the right to have someone kill you (with your consent, of course) is not limited to physical pain, but also psychological pain — which, besides being a murkier concept by far, raises the question of how competent the subject really is. Nor is suffering defined further: it is enough that it is intolerable “to the individual.”
Second, nothing in the words “grievous and irremediable medical condition,” the court’s other requirement for the exercise of this right, suggests that death is near, or even likely. It is enough that the condition be incurable; it need not be terminal.
What would there be, then, to prevent a person suffering from chronic depression, but unable for whatever reason — cowardice, perhaps — to take his own life, to ask someone to do it for him? Nothing that I can see. Are we to say that a person suffering from the psychological pain of depression — intolerably, as they see it — cannot “clearly consent” to someone killing them? On what grounds?
Indeed, on what grounds could any limit be placed on this right? Once we have embraced the idea of suicide, not as a tragedy we should seek to prevent, but a right we are obliged to uphold; once the taking of life has been converted from a crime into a service — “physician-assisted death” — to be performed at public expense; once we have crossed these sorts of philosophical and legal divides, how is it to be imagined that we could stop there?The problem with this decision, as Andrew Coyne points out, is that it is not based on any clear principle. Levels of pain are not universal, each person has a different threshold and tolerance. Diagnosis of terminal diseases is not inerrant. Quality of life is difficult to measure. Competency is relative. Pain tends to cloud our thinking and make it seem like it is the end of the world, even though it is not. The sum of these factors is subjectivity
Abortion has led the way in legalizing murder, and this is simply another logical step. When you take away the dignity of human life given by God (being made in His image), insanity ensues. We did not create ourselves, and so we don't have the right to destroy ourselves. Contrary to popular thought we are not driving down the drag strip of progress, life is not that simple. Is that a bend in the road!?