By Paul Russell, the director of HOPE Australia.
To discourage or deny hope must be one of the cruelest things any one person can do to another.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide enthusiasts peddle a wide range of slogans to further their goals and to influence the public towards the thought that perhaps being legally able to help someone to die or to kill them is a benefit both to the individual and to society at large.
That they should ‘sloganise’ their campaigns is entirely unremarkable; it’s what every organisation pushing for some change or some recognition would do. That their slogans are paper-thin veneers over precisely the opposite outcome is where the danger really lies.
Take for example the slogan of ‘choice’. This modern concept of ‘choice’ is closely aligned to autonomy – our right to self-determination and self-direction. Its use is beguiling precisely because ‘choice’ in general terms is prized as an integral part of freedom broadly understood.
However, in the context of euthanasia or assisted suicide, the ‘choice’ to be made dead is not really a choice at all; it is the end of choice precisely because it excludes all other possibilities in such a definite and irredeemable fashion. It excludes any and all other choices.
How many times have we heard stories of people who have ‘defied-the-odds’ and outlived a difficult prognosis by months and years and even experiencing remission to return to a full ‘normal’ life? There have even been cases of misdiagnosis resulting tragically in assisted suicide. Making the ‘choice’ to be dead denies any other possibility and extinguishes both life and hope.