Some of you may know that in the Netherlands and in Belgium, euthanasia (the supposed mercy killing or “good death”) is legal and more than that, it is legal for what seems like almost any reason. It’s kind of like California’s medical marijuana laws; if you can find even a hint of plausible reason to be prescribed weed, it will be prescribed. This is nearly the case for those who seek doctor-assisted suicide in Belgium and the Netherlands. Surprisingly, and yet not surprisingly, a doctor is now being prosecuted for a bad “good death.” In fact, three doctors are being prosecuted for the crime. It’s surprising because, as much as Belgium law-makers would like to pretend otherwise, their laws are pretty lax concerning such matters. It’s not surprising, because it was only a matter of time before someone’s family members would not be okay with a doctor taking their loved one away from them.
Such is the case with the Nys family. Tina Nys was a 38 year old woman, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, which is a mild form of autism. In 2010 she decided she did not want to live in such a condition any longer, so she saw her psychiatrist and went through the process involved with euthanasia. This is only possible because Belgium allows for the euthanizing of those who have mental illnesses and those diagnosed with unbearable or untreatable illnesses. Such a slippery slope, don’t you think? And now, it appears three doctors have slipped too far. What seemed to have been inevitable has, in fact, happened. After all, when a country allows for the killing of the mentally ill and allows for the euthanizing of those with an unbearable/untreatable illness, it opens up many doors of subjectivism.
The Nys family claims there were many irregularities within the procedure, such as the doctor performing the action asked Tina’s sister to hold the needle in place while he administered the drug. He also asked the members of Tina’s family to use a stethoscope to check to confirm the heart had stopped. These allegations led to the investigation which led to the doctors facing charges and a trial for poisoning Tina Nys.
Can I just state the obvious? Euthanasia is simply bad. We can dress it up and call it names, but no matter what euphemism is given, it is still wrong and it is still evil. As the saying goes, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. The very ones who are to “do no harm” are the ones doing the greatest of harms: killing their own patients. I know this is the minority, but one is too many. This quote from the Associated Press article is an understatement:
“I think this (trial) has symbolic importance in the sense that it sends doctors a message…that you could be accused of a very serious crime and prosecuted if you don’t comply with the legal requirements for euthanasia,” said Penney Lewis, a law professor at King’s College London. “The prospect of criminal investigation may act as a mechanism to make doctors more careful.”https://apnews.com/249a8067af6740d2af22ed66fc9e1a90
Let’s hope this goes beyond making doctors more careful, let’s hope this trial makes doctors simply refuse to do euthanasia at all! At this point I don’t care if doctors have a conviction against physician-assisted suicide or are simply afraid of being prosecuted for doing them, as long as they stop. I cannot for the life of me understand how these doctors could ever be okay with purposefully ending the life of a person as if they were some sort of race horse with a broken leg. I cannot understand how a police officer often needs to go through months or years of therapy when a person commits suicide by cop, but a doctor doesn’t bat an eye with suicide by physician.
We are more than animals! I know we are speaking about secular Europe here. I know they seek to escape any confines of religion, especially Christianity, but there used to be a conviction–a deep down belief in the goodness of living. There used to be the idea that easing pain was a good thing, but there was a line that was never to be crossed. Biblically speaking, these physicians (and all who are like them) will not have to worry only about the trial they are facing in the Court of Assize in Ghent, but they will one day face the Great White Thone judgment of the God who gave his image to Tina Nys and the thousands like her.
Suffering Christian, understand this: as great as your suffering is, God’s grace, mercy, and glory to come are far greater. That is not to make light of your situation and your hurting (whether it be physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional). That which causes suffering in your life is real; and to say that God’s glory to come is greater does not diminish it. It simply is to open our eyes to how great God’s grace, mercy, and glory really are. If your pain and your suffering are so great that you wish you were dead, know that God’s glory will make you rejoice with even more intensity than your intense wishes for the suffering to be over. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us,” (Romans 8:18, ESV). May God grant you grace to see the truth of this Word.