If That’s The Logic…

This short clip features interviews with Canadians about assisted suicide. Unfortunately, no one presents any reason to oppose it, but what’s particularly interesting  is how the third person arrives at a perfectly logical conclusion based on society’s premises. Indeed, we don’t give preborn children a choice when we end their lives, so what is there to stop consenting adults from ending their own? (Though of course in practice the sick would feel coerced into ‘choosing’ euthanasia because they don’t want to be a burden and disabled children would be candidates for euthanasia because adults deem their life, the only one they have, not worth living by an able-bodied person’s standards.) And really, why do we have suicide prevention programs and hotlines when it all boils down to an individual deciding whether his or her life is bearable? This is not to be provocative – it’s a natural extension “if that’s the logic,” as the young man in the video says.


Many people genuinely believe that being compassionate requires supporting abortion and euthanasia, even when they feel in their heart of hearts that it’s wrong. Active compassion, however, means staying by a friend or family member’s side even when their life takes an unexpected turn, for however long that might take. Isn’t it worth considering that we might not know when the best time for death is? For instance, there are many cases of people on their deathbed who hold on until a family member arrives to say goodbye. Moreover, isn’t it strange that it’s at this time in history, when medicine advances at incredible speed and we can do more than ever to manage pain, that there’s this desire to have death on demand available? The idea that there could be value in suffering and sacrifice, that there are some things that we can’t choose and plan, has become so completely foreign to our society that the general sentiment is that they are to be avoided at all costs, up to and including death. Life is already short, so let’s get out there and respond by educating people with life-affirming logic!

Like the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition on Facebook or follow Alex Schadenberg’s blog to learn more and keep up to date. We should all be able to give an articulate defense of life!

8 thoughts on “If That’s The Logic…

    1. uOttawa Students For Life Post author

      Hi Ayame,

      Thanks for reading. Treatment can be refused by a patient when it is futile and proper palliative care can greatly minimize pain. The trouble is that palliative care is unavailable in many places in Canada and it doesn’t make sense to bring in euthanasia before everyone has access to palliative care. Death is natural; direct, medicalized killing is not and thinking we can control the circumstances in which it is administered is a slippery slope.

      If you understand French, have a listen to this interview in which a palliative care physician explains how he has many techniques available to deal with pain and make people comfortable during their last days: http://www.985fm.ca/audioplayer.php?mp3=164893
      Have a good day!

      1. Ayame Sohma

        So if you’re “fortunate” enough to have diabetes or renal failure, you can obtain assisted suicide by refusing treatment. Wow.

        As for everyone else, they’re stuck with self-starvation. Hardly a compassionate alternative. No wonder the suicide rate among the elderly is through the roof.

      2. Kristine Kruszelnicki

        Euthanasia and assisted suicide are NOT the same thing. One is a conscious decision of an individual owner of a body, to die when and how he wants to. Euthanasia is when others choosing to kill a terminal or ill patient. Please do not confuse the two.

        I’m 100% no exceptions (other than mother’s immediate life) pro-life when it comes to opposing abortion, but I disagree with you on this issue. Unlike abortion, where the person dying is not the one making the choice, with assisted suicide it truly is the dying individual’s choice.

        You may not like that choice and may value your own life to a point where you would never make this decision, but I truly see no secular argument for stopping very ill and terminal individuals from easing out of life without having to endure many more weeks of suffering. Palliative care can only do so much and it does rather little to ease mental anguish faced by watching oneself degrade.

        You talk about “value in suffering and sacrifice”. If you find value in suffering, by all means go ahead and suffer when your time comes. But forcing your choice and preference to live on other people, is simply unnecessary. For individuals who are facing their oncoming demise, you’re not “saving a life” you’re merely delaying death and quite likely prolonging anguish and inevitable sorrow.

      3. ayametan

        Apparently consent means nothing to you, Kristine. Following your logic, all sex is rape and all surgery is mutilation.

        There are those who are physically unable to take their own lives, such as Tony Nicklinson, and therefore require the help of others.

        When you talk about value in suffering and sacrifice, you`re projecting your own position onto others. If you believe that suffering is so meaningful and always leads to a greater good, then you`ve given yourself an excuse to inflict suffering on others with joy and absent a nagging conscience.

  1. uOttawa Students For Life Post author

    Thanks for stopping by, Kristine, and for calling for clear use of the terms. This article provides some history on their origins and describes how language is being used today by advocates: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.ca/2013/02/euthanasia-euphemisms.html Whatever one’s views, clear language is important!

    To respond to Ayame’s comment, refusing treatment does not constitute assisted suicide because “assisted” means that someone else, i.e. the doctor, kills you at your request. And of course starvation is inhumane – palliative care can do much better than that. What do you think of the idea that we should first be making sure quality palliative care is available everywhere?

    Kristine, do you think the difference between assisted suicide and euthanasia would be as clear cut in practice? How would we address coercion, for example from indebted children hoping for an inheritance sooner rather than later or doctors hinting that they really need to free up some beds? Abortion activists often put forward the hard cases of rape and incest, but we know they are an infinitesimally small number of total abortion cases. We hear about people terminally ill with cancer requesting assisted suicide here, but other countries have approved requests from people with anorexia and from blind twins who found out they would be going deaf. Suffering is inherently subjective, so where would you draw the line or would you draw one at all? What about people who are suffering from mental health problems?

    ProWomanProLife posted a video produced by a Vancouver disability leader on this issue and it’s worth a watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqrqWkxMhmw&feature=youtu.be

    Another video, only two minutes long and featuring Margaret Somerville, presents an interesting idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbcePtxQ_7o&feature=youtu.be
    If we were to see legalization, what do you think about having lawyers kill patients rather than doctors to maintain patient trust?

    From a secular point of view, how far are we willing to go to try and eliminate suffering? How much learning would we miss out on if we didn’t accompany our loved ones through their suffering? What message are we sending to people with a disability when we talk like the cartoon woman in the first video? We should certainly seek to alleviate suffering, but should we really actively eliminate the sufferer, even at their request? (And let’s remember that humans have a peculiar habit of changing their mind.)

    “Palliative care can only do so much and it does rather little to ease mental anguish faced by watching oneself degrade.” Would you agree that it’s fear that motivates much of the support for death on demand, and that for many people depending on others seems like a fate worse than death? What does that say about our society?

    1. Alex

      You do realize you’re taking the absolute extreme position here, right? You’re talking about people being coerced into suicide and others being killed against their consent, and yet you have no kind words to spare to people who have Lou Gehrig’s disease, who lose control of their muscles, and cystic fibrosis patients, both of which who die with tremendous difficulty breathing, and in some cases drowning the first in their own saliva because they can’t swallow, and the second drowning because their lungs are filling with water. Have you no sympathy for them?

      I believe cases of hemodialysis was mentionned. You’d rather let a person starve to death while their blood is slowly growing more and more poisonous and suffer over weeks, rather than let them take the conscious decision of taking a pill and not suffering anymore?

      If you take the extreme cases against assisted suicide, you also have to take the cases FOR assisted suicide.

      1. Ayame Sohma

        Well said. If self-starvation with the law’s blessing and physician assistance is NOT assisted suicide, then nothing is. Such policies and practices are more palatable to the anti-choice crowd primary because they are acts of omission, even though the intention to cause one’s death and the intention to aid the patient in doing so are one and the same.

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