4. Euthanasia is a rejection of the importance and value of human life
1. Euthanasia would not only be for people who are "terminally ill." There are two problems here -- the definition of "terminal" and the changes that have already taken place to extend euthanasia to those who aren't "terminally ill." There are many definitions for the word "terminal." For example, when he spoke to the National Press Club in 1992, Jack Kevorkian said that a terminal illness was "any disease that curtails life even for a day." The co-founder of the Hemlock Society often refers to "terminal old age." Some laws define "terminal" condition as one from which death will occur in a "relatively short time." Others state that "terminal" means that death is expected within six months or less.
Even where a specific life expectancy (like six months) is referred to, medical experts acknowledge that it is virtually impossible to predict the life expectancy of a particular patient. Some people diagnosed as terminally ill don't die for years, if at all, from the diagnosed condition. Increasingly, however, euthanasia activists have dropped references to terminal illness, replacing them with such phrases as "hopelessly ill," "desperately ill," "incurably ill," "hopeless condition," and "meaningless life."
An article in the journal, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, described assisted suicide guidelines for those with a hopeless condition. "Hopeless condition" was defined to include terminal illness, severe physical or psychological pain, physical or mental debilitation or deterioration, or a quality of life that is no longer acceptable to the individual. That means just about anybody who has a suicidal impulse .
2. Euthanasia can become a means of health care cost containment
"...physician-assisted suicide, if it became widespread, could become a profit-enhancing tool for big HMOs. "
"...drugs used in assisted suicide cost only about $40, but that it could take $40,000 to treat a patient properly so that they don't want the "choice" of assisted suicide..." ... Wesley J. Smith, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute.
Perhaps one of the most important developments in recent years is the increasing emphasis placed on health care providers to contain costs. In such a climate, euthanasia certainly could become a means of cost containment.
In the United States, thousands of people have no medical insurance; studies have shown that the poor and minorities generally are not given access to available pain control, and managed-care facilities are offering physicians cash bonuses if they don't provide care for patients. With greater and greater emphasis being placed on managed care, many doctors are at financial risk when they provide treatment for their patients. Legalized euthanasia raises the potential for a profoundly dangerous situation in which doctors could find themselves far better off financially if a seriously ill or disabled person "chooses" to die rather than receive long-term care.
Savings to the government may also become a consideration. This could take place if governments cut back on paying for treatment and care and replace them with the "treatment" of death. For example, immediately after the passage of Measure 16, Oregon's law permitting assisted suicide, Jean Thorne, the state's Medicaid Director, announced that physician-assisted suicide would be paid for as "comfort care" under the Oregon Health Plan which provides medical coverage for about 345,000 poor Oregonians. Within eighteen months of Measure 16's passage, the State of Oregon announced plans to cut back on health care coverage for poor state residents. In Canada, hospital stays are being shortened while, at the same time, funds have not been made available for home care for...