Better Off Dead?

ChelseaAbortion, Disabled, Euthanasia, Personal, Suffering5 Comments

twinsC Health has two columns debating the topic of Euthanasia. In opposition is broadcaster and columnist Michael Coren and in support is Dr. Gifford-Jones. The main focus of Do They Deserve to be Born is on a set of twins, now six months old, conjoined at the head (note: these are not the twins pictured on your right, I couldn’t find a picture of the twins from the story).

Michael Coren’s opposition editorial is well done, rightfully proclaiming:

No civilized person or society, however, considers expense and practicality to be more important than goodness and humanity. If it did, it would immediately wipe out, for example, drug addicts, the homeless and people with AIDS.

Tatiana and Krista will be loved and, important this, will love back. They will smile, laugh, cry, be sad and happy, sometimes frightened, sometimes excited. Just be. Which is quite enough. And God forgive anyone who awards themselves the right to decide who may be and who may not.

The supporting author’s claims, however, are very troublesome and often downright insulting. First he ridicules the belief that all life is sacred:

Reports claim that Felicia Hogan-Simms was advised by doctors that her pregnancy could be terminated, but she refused. I assume that she considers life of any kind sacred, and abortion never an option.

This is where it gets a little personal for me:

What a tragic life awaits the twins. For as long as they live they will be unable to care for themselves or lead a normal active life…

They will never walk, joined at the head in such an abnormal position. Physically they are destined for ill health, lying on their backs forever. They will become obese and develop the myriad of diseases that accompany this problem. Their lives will be a living hell.

This should be a wakeup call for us to prevent unimaginable future cruelty of this kind…I would ask this question. Is there anyone among us who would want to be born this way or willing to trade places with these conjoined twins?

As a paraplegic I not longer have any feeling or voluntary movement below my chest. My daily meroutine includes managing bodily functions in a way that would make most people cringe. I am confronted with new limits and challenges every day whether its needing something out of my reach or being unable to reach my destination due to inaccessibility. And lets not forget the wheelchair. Much like Dr. Gifford-Jones claims of the twins, I too have been pointed out as someone whose quality of life has been diminished as a result of my injury and have actually been told by another individual that they would kill themselves if they were in my position. I don’t know a single person who would want to trade places with me. But but does that mean that I would be better off dead?

And who is this man to decide whose life is a living hell? These children, as Coren points out, will be infinitely blessed with the love of their family and will be able to love them back. Likewise, my life, though accompanied by many trials and sufferings, is one great blessing after another. Sure, sick and disabled people must endure sometimes tragic suffering, but that does not diminish our value as human beings. And whose to say that our sufferings are greater than those enduring some interior anguish hidden from the eyes of the world?

Even in the midst of the extreme suffering there are rays of hope and happiness. And if there are not there’s no need to worry for something greater awaits us – a place where every tear will be wiped away and mourning, crying and pain will be no more (Rev. 21: 3-4). This is the good news of human suffering – while on earth our suffering is inevitable and we should never violate human dignity and the sacredness of life to avoid it – it will not last!

In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 1:6-7)

If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.(Mt. 16:24-25)

But here’s the kicker:

Hogan-Simms should not have been allowed to make the ultimate decision. I have in the past always cast a jaundiced eye on committee decisions, but I like to believe in this instance an ethics committee would have seen the logic of terminating this pregnancy.

So much for “freedom of choice”. THIS should be a wake up call for everyone! This is what advocates of so called “futile care” are after. Patients should no longer be able to make informed decisions about their own health care. Rather, an “ethics committee” should make the decision for them and then force them to comply. We have witnessed this most recently in Texas with Baby Emilio. Now this doctor (and I’m sure he’s not alone) thinks that we should also be able to force women to have abortions (think China). After all, knowingly allowing a child to live with disease and serious disability is cruel and unusual and should never be permitted even if the family is willing to love and care for her.

It saddens me to no end that people can view any life unworthy to be lived. As beings made in the image and likeness of God our lives have meaning independent of our abilities and usefulness. Therefore all life is precious and worthy to be preserved.

No Pain, No Gain (my post on another blog)

5 Comments on “Better Off Dead?”

  1. I agree with you wholheartedly in reference to anyone being allowed to make a decision on an individual basis;choose what they wish. This however is to include Right to Die as well as Pro-Choice decisions. We can’t have it both ways but we should be able to have it either way. I too know the scripture but feel that interpretation is also an individual choice. An individual interpretation is something that each of us may not necessarily agree with but should be allowed to share.

  2. True freedom, as a gift from God, does not consist in choosing to do what we want, but to do what we ought. Choosing adequate medical care to preserve the life of a sick individual and chosing to end that life of another are two completely different things. When one chooses to participate in an action in which the direct purpose is to end the life of an innocent human being such as abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia and suicide – assisted or otherwise, it is a violation of the natural law and goes against the goodness and love of God – which is a truth written in the heart of every man.

  3. Chelsea,

    You are an inspiration to me – and (I’m sure!) many others. Thank you for being a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves – and for showing the world that someone with a physical disability can have a more fulfilling life than many who don’t have disabilities. Sadly people just don’t “get it” – life is always sacred. Thank you for all that you do!

    Mary, 27
    Rock for Life Street Teamer
    St. Augustine, FL

  4. Thank you for writing this article. I work at a neurosurgical ward and I hear this kind of thing a lot. It bothers me when the other staff speak of wishing “for the patient’s sake” that they would soon die, because their life is “without dignity”. It’s a big responsibility to decide whose life is worth living–too big for us humans.

  5. Dear Chelsea,

    As a nurse who cares for quadriplegics on ventilators, I know exactly how much “able-bodied” and non-disabled people take for granted. Caring for those who need help is an opportunity to serve the Lord. The Lord said that as you do to the “least of these,” you do to Me/Him. And that is how health care must be approached for it to become a mission of love, and an opportunity to serve.

    The quality of life ethic has now permeated mainstream university, medical, nursing and law schools, so that physicians, nurses, attorneys and judges are “bred” to view life as disposable, view the disabled as unwanted and unworthy, and act accordingly. Those in favor of euthanasia have been at work for almost 100 years and have worked to transform our society from basically a Christian society (all colonies were founded by Christian leaders seeking religious freedom to live according to their faith) to a secular, anti-Christian, socialistic society.

    Thank you for writing what you have shared with us! We need more voices, unafraid voices, so that the truth of life’s sacred character is known by all and treasured for the gift it is.

    I’ve written about these challenges to our society in a new book, Stealth Euthanasia: Health Care Tyranny in America, which details the problems created by the euthanasia movement in today’s health care system, what caused it, how it occurred and what can be done. It is available for anyone online, without charge at:

    Thanks again!

    Ron Panzer
    President, Hospice Patients Alliance

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