Today, science is making it possible to remove "genetic errors" by changing the DNA in the ovum. I am left asking what constitutes a genetic error. Missing a limb? Cleft palate? Down syndrome? Autism? And who will be the arbiter of these decisions as we learn more about our genes and heredity? Do YOU want to be God? The point is who decides who is perfect, normal, and genetically acceptable? And when? In utero, at birth, later in life when an "imperfection" shows up? Perhaps in later years when one becomes a burden to family or society? Quality-of-life and utilitarian ethics (greatest good for the greatest number) could make for dangerous bedfellows.
There is a marked difference between making it possible to take one's own life and actively participating in it. Because we abhor suicide we have all kinds of programmes established to reach out to those who wish to take their own life. There is a cognitive dissonance at play when we now ask our own government, through legislation, to participate in ending life. And then to label it "health care" is Orwellian.
I never thought I would feel the need to write in favour of the Office of Religious Freedom. I took my religious freedom for granted. I am a Chaplain. It seems that the readers know all about me from that title. It is assumed that if one believes in God, there is a lack of intelligence, that one cannot believe and have a background in science, philosophy, economics, medicine, the arts.
Death with dignity is an oxymoron. Dignity is in life. To die with dignity is to face death, boldly, calmly, graciously. A good death is one that honours the life before. Assisted suicide is a vulgar act of cowardice. It diminishes our species. Have we become so entitled, soft, so weak-willed, so whiny and petulant that we cannot even bear the thought of future possible pain that we choose a lethal injection in expectation? Have we come to a place in time that leaving the ones who love us, need us, are not as important as our "dignity"? Have we become that self-serving?
Will Quebec legalize medically assisted end-of-life procedures? Wanda Morris, Executive Director of Dying With Dignity, thinks it should -- she's sees it as a question of individual rights. But others -- including bioethicist Margaret Somerville -- say legally sanctioning euthanasia would endanger weak and vulnerable Canadians. and have a harmful impact on society. What's your position? Before you pick a side, have a look at what Morris and Somerville have to say in our online debate. Then decide whose case is more persuasive, and cast your vote...
Carter v. Canada , the judge-decreed legalization of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada, tries to take a chainsaw to that old-growth forest that my colleague Dr. Margaret Cottle describes as a "delicate social ecology of mutual support and protection" which forbids the killing of a patient.