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Choice devours itself, September 2015 edition

A few new items have popped up lately on the "choice devours itself" screen.

Here's one:

A surrogate agreed to abort one of triplets after she was arm-twisted by the "intended parents." The story does not say what biological relation, if any, any of these people had to the babies. My best guess is that they were made in a lab from the sperm and eggs of the intended parents, but that is entirely a guess. The surrogate originally refused, saying she "didn't want to kill a baby." Good for her! But then the couple said they would rather have no babies than three! They had signed up for twins, and twins was the most they were going to take. (Heartless creeps.) They told her they would cut off expense payments if she wouldn't agree to a "selective reduction," in which one child is killed by an injection to the heart. They would have some kind of immigration problem if they accepted three children. The husband would lose his job (allegedly). The surrogate "didn't want to have that on her conscience"! Apparently causing the murder-minded father to lose his job was more of a problem for her conscience than killing a baby. So she agreed. Then one of the remaining two children died, and now she's pregnant with just one.

So much for freedom of choice. Oh, yes, the abortion wasn't absolutely, strictly forced in the sense that abortions in China are. She wasn't dragged away physically. But she was certainly pressured by the threat of losing all support for her pregnancy and for the three children thereafter.

This is not the only time this sort of thing has happened in surrogacy arrangements, yet the high priests of choice don't seem to have any problem with it. Wonder why.

Here's another:

Colorado right-to-die activists have proposed an extremely radical euthanasia referendum that would include people with dementia. Wesley J. Smith cautiously reports that the sweeping language of the proposal may have an exception for children, but it's interesting that there is any question about the matter. Competency is not a concern at all. Rather, the promotion of death is the major concern. From the proposed referendum:

The Sovereign’s right to obtain Medical Aid In Dying is not limited to the maintenance of mental competency only, but can be durable into incompetency if desired and documented.

Better hope you don't change your mind about being killed by lethal injection after you become mentally incompetent. Too late then, buddy. You will be at the mercy of your previous, "sovereign" self.

This calls into question the "choice" claims of the pro-death activists. They want people who are incapable of making competent decisions to be able to "choose" death by various legal fictions. (In Belgium children can "request" and receive euthanasia, and infants are euthanized in Holland.) In Canada, the relatives of a woman who had been pro-euthanasia while mentally competent sued to stop a nursing home from feeding her by mouth, even though she was apparently willingly receiving the mouth feeding. So much for choice. This is how choice devours itself.

Finally, the second item is related to the third item, though in and of itself this third item is a matter of coercion exercised upon the health care providers rather than the supposed recipients of "choice."

Quebec is poised to force all palliative care facilities to provide euthanasia to patients. While individual doctors may opt out, if all the individual doctors at a given facility do so, the facility must bring in someone else.

The University of Montreal's palliative care medical unit has already indicated that its doctors don't want to kill patients, so this is likely to be a live, practical issue very soon.

I brought up this example when the Kim Davis discussion was going on: Is it now "the job" of doctors in Quebec, or of hospital administrators in Quebec, to make sure their patients are killed? Must they all quit or "do the job"? Let's hope not, and good for the University of Montreal.

Consider: The claim (as always) is that the requirements for euthanasia in Quebec are "very strict" and that patients must "ask for it." I, of course, do not think it is right even then, but let's all admit that this "strict requirements" stuff is always a lot of baloney. Always. Wesley J. Smith has documented again and again, ad nauseum, the fact that the protocols in such cases are never consistently applied. Moreover, as the Colorado proposal shows, the idea of a patient's "asking for" euthanasia is extended in the minds of advocates to something like a living will, so that a documented statement by a patient that he would want to be killed in some hypothetical later situation is considered to count as "asking" for death when the later situation arises, even if the patient is mentally incompetent or unconscious. I have very little doubt that this will obtain in Quebec, and if I am right about that palliative care facilities will be coerced to kill even their incompetent and unconscious patients. It would be bad enough for them to kill patients who are sitting up in bed clamoring to be "assisted" in ending their lives. Such patients should receive help, pain relief, counseling, and not a deadly needle. (So much for suicide prevention. If you're sick, society now apparently agrees that you're better off dead.) But I suspect even more doctors' consciences will revolt at killing patients who obviously do not desire right now to be killed. Quebec says, "Thou shalt kill," thus undermining the medical profession.

A year or so ago I attempted to explain the dynamic of "choice devours itself" to an acquaintance who was heavily invested in the claim that liberal ethical doctrine itself rules out euthanasia without request. In response I wrote this post about philosopher Ronald Dworkin and the way that the so-called "autonomy principle" actually gets used to support euthanasia for (at least) those who are not presently requesting death, and plausibly for those who have never requested it. I related this to the current "anything goes" culture in Belgium, in which patients of all ages and stages of competence are killed by doctors.

In America in 2015 it would not do to say that it will never happen here. I predict that during my lifetime we will see doctors in the United States pressured officially and openly (I suspect it already happens quietly) to administer lethal injections to patients on pain of losing their jobs. And that we will see, as in Quebec, institutions pressured to make sure they have at least one killer doctor on staff. Nor, I predict, will such cases be restricted to mentally competent patients presently asking to die. Indeed, the entire history of jurisprudence in the U.S. supporting dehydrating unconscious patients to death if that was "their wish" will be easily ported over to active euthanasia.

The time to realize that choice devours itself is now, not tomorrow. When death is made a god, he becomes a demon. Decide now what you will do when asked to make sacrifice to him.

Comments (3)

In related news, a woman was sentenced to 40 years in prison for injecting hand sanitizer into her baby's feeding tube as an "act of mercy." By act of mercy, she probably meant that it was merciful to her since she's a 22 year old single mom and who wants to be stuck at such a young age with a baby with Down's Syndrome? Amiright?

You missed this gem from the first story: "But the case underlines the moral dilemmas that surrogacy can unexpectedly impose on women who lend out their wombs, as foreign demand for Canadian 'carriers' surges." These "moral dilemmas" are not unexpected to anyone with minimal foresight.

In America in 2015 it would not do to say that it will never happen here. I predict that during my lifetime we will see doctors in the United States pressured officially and openly (I suspect it already happens quietly) to administer lethal injections to patients on pain of losing their jobs.

Are you trying for the "Understatement of the Year" award? There is no doubt at all that this is the trajectory, and unless something fairly drastic (not now foreseen) comes up as an obstacle this will be happening, probably within 10 years. Nursing homes are starving patients do death under court order, already. Doctors are being pressured, already, that they have to prescribe abortion or refer for it. Pharmacists are already pressured to issue contraceptives, and fired if they won't. And, in a thousand different ways, we have watched as European and Canadian pathways to monstrous evils have been followed in the US some 10 years later, sometimes less.

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