Talk to your children
1. Help children to understand there is a difference in the value of human life vs. the life of an animal.
2. Help children to understand that there is never a time when they or another human being are not valued, no matter the circumstances (young, old, disabled, ill, difficult to be around, etc.).
3. Teach resilience and a “we can do hard things” mindset. There is meaning, hope, and help during suffering and difficult circumstances.
4. Strengthen intergenerational ties. Take steps to ensure children know and are personally connected to grandparents and individuals from older generations.
5. How do each of our decisions affect other family members? Is it true that we can “do whatever we want” and assume it won’t affect anyone else?
Talk to family members and friends
A Person's Worth
- What criteria do you use to establish if a life is worth living?
- Would you feel comfortable being treated by a physician who has no problem participating in (or advocating for) euthanasia or physician assisted suicide?
Role of Support
- What is a family’s role in supporting someone who is terminally ill?
- What is a family’s role in supporting someone who is depressed/suffering mental illness?
Engage the Broader Community
Bills to legalize Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) come up, each year, in many state legislatures. Watch for them, educate those around you, and assist organizations who actively oppose these bills. You should consider testifying at hearings and/or writing articles for blogs and media outlets.
Speak Their Language
Watch for wording such as “Aid in Dying,” “Death with Dignity,” “Right to Die,” and “Compassion & Choices.” These are all euphemisms for assisted suicide.
Be aware of the false narratives and misleading messaging coming from movies like “Me Before You,” “Million Dollar Baby,” as well as from TV shows normalizing assisted suicide.
Be aware that normalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia are occurring within the education system – often within “ethics” classes or programs. Be sure that your children are equipped with appropriate understandings of the importance of human life and the knowledge to alert parents to the problem and to defend a pro-life position.
With the increasing cost of health care for the elderly and extremely ill patients, there may be pressure on them to take their lives to alleviate the burden on their families. They may sense a “duty to die.”
The legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia can inhibit the progress of medical advances, and tends to result in fewer efforts by the doctor to find a solution to the patient’s distress.
In the Netherlands, “several official, government-sponsored surveys have disclosed both that in thousands of cases, doctors have intentionally administered lethal injections to patients without a request and that in thousands of cases, they have failed to report cases to authorities.”
A study in Dutch hospitals found that more requests for euthanasia come from families than from patients themselves.
Once a patient has the means to take their own life, there can be decreased incentive to care for the patient’s symptoms and needs.
It corrupts the medical profession because physician assisted suicide/euthanasia contradicts the purpose of medicine, which is to heal, eliminate disease, and alleviate pain.
PAS/euthanasia undermines the doctor-patient relationship because doctors no longer have an undivided interest in the life and health of patients, thereby reducing patients’ trust in doctors.
PAS/euthanasia stigmatize disability and dementia and signal that it is acceptable to consider a life with capacity loss as one not worth living.
“While some applicants for euthanasia are furious with doctors who turn them down, in practice people are unwilling to take their own lives. Rather than drink the poison or open the drip, 95% of applicants for active life termination in the Netherlands ask a doctor to kill them.”
Some distinctions to make:
-This discussion is not about being on or off of life-support.
Medical professionals and the courts (including the U.S. Supreme Court) make a distinction between the individual’s right to refuse unwanted lifesaving medical treatment and assisted suicide.
-Pain is not the issue.
There is not one case in Oregon of assisted suicide being used for actual untreatable pain. Pain can be treated. There is scientific evidence that there is an inverse relationship between a patient having pain and their desire for assisted suicide or euthanasia. It is ethically appropriate and acceptable to treat a patient for pain, even if the treatment may shorten life; the treatment is being given to treat the pain and not specifically to cause death.
Social Media Resources
Help Spread the Word
Be a “Happy Warrior“
Engaging in advocacy can be scary. You’re not alone. It’s scary for just about everyone. Few people enjoy speaking up about what can often be contentious issues. At the same, your voice is needed; so don’t be timid. Resist the feeling that you have to change the world overnight. Make a plan and pace yourself.
Be happy – people will be drawn to you. Be bold – people will want to follow you. Be positive – people will learn from you and want to emulate you. Remember Chesty Puller, the legendary Marine, who in the Korean War, was cut off behind enemy lines. The Army had written the 1st Marine Division off as being lost because they were surrounded by 22 enemy divisions — that’s 22 to one! Chesty pulled out his radio and told headquarters, “All right, they’re on our left, they’re on our right, they’re in front of us, they’re behind us…they can’t get away this time!”
Here’s an important point: You can say just about anything, no matter how difficult, if you say it with a positive attitude and a smile on your face. A pleasant smile and easy going disposition will be one of your best assets.
“The true warrior is successful not because he or she hates what is in front of them but because of the love they have for what is behind them.” Scott G. Winterton