by Josh Bailey, MFC Communications Intern
Physician Assisted Suicide may seem like a distant issue to many, limited to places like the Netherlands, however it is quickly becoming a reality in and around the United States. On Tuesday of this week, Life News reported that only “one year after Canada legalized assisted suicide, 970 people have already killed themselves.” Earlier this month Compassion & Choices – a pro-assisted suicide organization – excitedly reported that 504 patients ended their lives via the assisted suicide “Right-to-Die” law enacted a year ago this month in California.
When organizations like Compassion & Choices argue for legalization of physician assisted suicide, they are telling people like Penther, Swenson, and Bakewicz that their lives are not worth living. But nothing could be further from the truth.
This week a story emerged about a 35 year-old woman named Janka Penther who overcame her Cystic Fibrosis and recently completed a 20-mile obstacle course run. Assisted suicide was always an option in her mind as the disease increasingly debilitated her. But in 2013, Penther chose to try a lung transplant instead of suicide. She fought for life and she WON! Penther continues to amaze doctors by her recovery and participation in athletic events.
In 1980 at the age of 28, Jean Swenson was in a car accident that left her almost completely paralyzed. She confesses that if assisted suicide had been legal at the time, she would have taken advantage of it. However, through the encouragement of her friends, family, and faith, she was able to find great joy in life. In an interview published last month she said, “the road has not always been easy, but it’s been good. And it’s definitely been worth fighting for.”
Elizabeth Bakewicz found out in 2008 that she had a brain tumor, and doctors gave her 3-5 years to live. This prognosis gave her the option to end her life, but instead she chose life. Even though she suffers from painful and regular seizures, she is still alive today and thankful for life. She has pointed out, “By refusing to accept physician assisted suicide, my life and others who suffer like me will be affirmed. We will be told we have meaning.”
Contrary to what Compassion & Choices would have you believe, life is worth fighting for. For the hundreds of people who chose to take their own lives in California and Canada, I am afraid it is too late. Let us not depreciate the lives of hundreds more.