I live every day in the bulls-eye of euthanasia, always aware that I am a target for “mercy killing.” Just one sickness, medical emergency, or accident separates me from those who would kill me and call it “death with dignity.”
While a hospital is a place of healing and care, it is also a potential place of danger for those of us who are disabled, elderly, or chronically ill. Whenever I have been admitted to a hospital, I experience a certain apprehension, knowing that medical caregivers may “opt out” of providing me life-saving medical treatment if they decide my quality of life is not sufficient to justify their effort and expense.
You see, I am a disabled Marine combat veteran, critically wounded in Vietnam and residing in a wheelchair for the past 34 years. During my two year, three month long hospitalization, which included 27 surgeries, doctors employed many heroic efforts, hooked me to numerous machines, and saved my life. That was from late 1969 to early 1972. Today, that extraordinary level of effort is considered intrusive and burdensome, and characterized as just prolonging suffering.
That is why obtaining National Right to Life’s Will to Live is not just an option, but imperative for those of us who believe in the intrinsic value of life. Everyone is just an accident or illness away from joining me in the bulls-eye of the growing threat of euthanasia. Even now, many senior citizens are pressured to sign “Do Not Resuscitate” orders when admitted to the hospital. They are devalued because of age. As our Medicare and Medicaid systems lurch from one fiscal crisis to the next, the pressure increases to save money by denying medical care to those who are most expensive. That includes me along with others living with either physical or mental disabilities, or those with chronic illnesses whatever their ages.
The constant pro-euthanasia drumbeat of our modern “culture of death” is astounding. Medically killing the disabled is described as mercy. Starving and thirsting to death the elderly is called compassion. Denying medical treatment to the chronically ill is applauded as being a good steward of scarce health-care dollars.
This push to deny medical treatment to devalued members of our human family is shrouded in the politics of language. Choice and freedom are positive words in our democracy and it is no accident these words are used by those who promote death as a social good. Choosing to die is applauded as the new freedom, but it is seldom mentioned that this so-called freedom is, in reality, limited to those who are sick or have physical or mental disabilities.
Medical killing of people with disabilities is often justified with the phrase “death with dignity.” I cannot overemphasize how offensive the words, “death with dignity,” are to me. What that really says is that my life as a disabled person has no dignity and that I would be better off dead.
I realize many people fear old age, illness, and disability. As a fifteen year old, I saw a severely disabled man and distinctly remember thinking; “I would rather be dead than like that.” I was sincere, but wrong. After 30 plus years in a wheelchair, I understand that personal happiness, value, and self worth have no relation to someone’s degree of physical perfection.
National Right to Life has a Will to Live available for each individual state that is appropriate to the laws of each state. It is an important way to protect your life. Get your copy – read it, evaluate it, believe it, and sign it.