For centuries, the Hippocratic Oath, including the admonition against abortion, assisted suicide, and euthanasia, formed the core of Western medical ethics. While the Hippocratic ideal has been eroding for decades, the most direct challenge has emerged in the Netherlands, with the cultural and legal acceptance of the right to die. The medical community and broader citizenry have so embraced the right to choose death for oneself that the Dutch parliament is currently considering legislation that would allow assisted suicide for anyone who has reached the age of seventy and has merely grown tired of living.
The Royal Dutch Medical Association has since called for increased reporting to bolster public trust in euthanasia laws. But enthusiasm for following these procedures and standards remains muted, since doctors know that no penalties will be incurred by simply ignoring the law. Prosecutions for guideline violations are exceedingly rare and no doctor has ever been imprisoned or substantially penalized for noncompliance. Even when the government is made aware of cases of non-voluntary euthanasia, no legal action is likely to be taken.
The Dutch have even expanded the scope of protected physician killing to include children. With their parent’s permission, a child between the ages of 12 to 16 years old may request and receive assisted suicide. Initially, minors could obtain an assisted death even if their parents objected, but after domestic and international criticism, the law was changed to require parental consent.
[…]As reported in one Dutch documentary, a young woman in remission from anorexia was concerned that her eating disorder would return. To prevent a relapse, she asked her doctor to kill her. He willingly complied with her request.
[…]Over a period of forty years, the Dutch have continued the search for where to draw the line with euthanasia, shifting from acceptance of voluntary euthanasia for the terminally ill, to voluntary euthanasia for the chronically ill, to non-voluntary euthanasia for the sick and disabled, to euthanasia for those who are not sick at all but are merely “suffering through living.” While the initial impetus may have been spurred by a desire to give expanded rights to the person who faces extreme suffering or imminent death, the effect has been to concentrate power into the hands of state-sponsored medical professionals. And while the justification for assisted death is usually the supposed well being of the suffering patient, the Dutch have redefined natural dependency into an unacceptable or unwanted social burden.
This is another concern I have about single-payer health care. The way the system works is that people have taxes deducted automatically from their pay checks when they are working. And when they get older, and stop working, they have to ask for treatment from a supplier that has no incentive to provide treatment or care, since they are no longer socially useful because they can’t pay taxes. Instead of doctors thinking that they have to treat a paying customer, the doctors think that they have to avoid wasting “society’s” money on people who are too old to pay into the system.
So if you don’t pay into the system, and the system needs money to treat those who are still paying, then why would they treat you? You have no value to society unless you are making money.
There was a good article on socialized medicine and euthanasia by Richard Miniter in the Wall Street Journal a few years back that explains my concerns more.
To deal with his point about doctors changing to view their purpose as ending suffering instead of getting people well, I think that this is scary because it shows how far we have come with our hedonism. My concern is that people are viewing the purpose of life as hedonism.
People want to have happy feelings all the time, and they don’t want to be burdened with the needs of anyone else. There’s no longer any moral dimension to life that makes taking care of others worthwhile. No one sees the experience of self-sacrificial love for others as an opportunity to imitate Christ.
More horror. Patients in the Netherlands are suing to require that sexual gratification be part of the “medical services” that nurses should perform. I can’t even begin to express my revulsion at this story about health care in the Netherlands. Women were not made to be treated like this, they’re made to love and to be loved. I’m so scared of the future. It’s things like this that put me off of wanting to pursue marriage and children. What kind of world will my children grow up in? What will the government force them to do that will destroy their willingness and ability to follow Jesus? I can’t re-make the whole world.