Christian living, Inspirational

What “Right to Die?”

By Del Duduit

We just set foot on the slippery slope.

The liberal Democrat-led state senate in Maine voted to legalize assisted suicide last week, and the governor, also a Democrat, is deciding whether to sign it into law.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills has 10 days to sign the bill, which would permit doctors to prescribe a fatal dose of medication to “terminally ill” patients.

The House, also led by Democrats, passed the measure by one vote – 73-72. There is a chilling trend.

This was taken of me holding a picture of my parents two years ago at Christmas time.

Seven other states have similar laws on the books labeled as “right to die” legislation.

I see nowhere in the United States Constitution where we have that right. I am aware of the “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but not the other.

The pro-death movement has been successful in playing on emotions and disguising its agenda as a motive to provide “death with dignity.”

Maine’s pending legislation defines terminal illness as an “incurable and irreversible disease that has been medically confirmed and will, within reasonable medical judgment, produce death within six months.”

Have doctors ever been wrong?

I am friends with a man who goes to our church who was given four weeks to live because he had stage four cancer. He was sent home from the Cleveland Clinic to get things in order and die. There was no hope or nothing the medical world could do.

That was about 15 years ago. He’s still alive and kicking. Doctors can be wrong, and God can heal.

What would have been his outcome if liberals were in charge back then or his physician took it upon himself to administer lethal medication?

My parents walking me across the field on “Parents Night” my senior year of football.

A controversial legal suicide occurred last weekend in the Netherlands when a 17-year-old went to an end-of-life clinic to be legally euthanized because she was depressed after being raped.

Her life had value. Instead of helping her mental condition, “authorities” and “professionals” let her die.

If assisted suicide is allowed, there will be an onslaught from the grim reapers who want to end the life of a person who THEY deem unworthy to live.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S.

For some people, major depression can interfere with or limit one’s ability to carry out major life activities.

In 2017, about 11 million U.S. adults over the age of 18 had at least one major depressive episode with severe impairment. This amounts to about 4.5 percent of all adults in the nation.

That’s a lot of people who could be “legally killed” if liberals get their way.

The word “compassion” is a complete disguise, and it makes the people making the decision feel less guilty about reality.

I have been involved in the pro-life movement for decades. I also sat on the board for Ohio Right to Life for a couple of years and previously served on an advisory board for our local Hospice. Naturally, when people talk and think about being pro-life, they assume you are talking about abortion.

The issue of assisted suicide and euthanasia sometimes does not get the ink that unborn babies get. And that’s okay. It’s an issue that can be sensitive. After all, when we talk about euthanasia or assisted suicide, we are dealing with a person’s documented life on earth.

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Over the years, I have heard arguments from people in favor of assisted suicide. I even went through a speaker’s training course on euthanasia where I was trained on how to handle heckling and tough questions. It all comes down to education and understanding. Emotion should be left out.

But no matter how tough the questions may be, killing a person in the name of “compassion” is never the answer.  The word “compassion” is a complete disguise, and awards the people making the decision feel less guilty about reality.

Buddy — as everyone referred to my father.

Some proponents argue that no one should have to die in excruciating pain or be strapped to tubes or a machine to keep them alive when there is no hope for quality of life.

I agree. However, having a doctor come in and basically kill that person is not right either. There is a distinct difference between allowing death to happen and causing death.

I’ve been there. I sat at my father’s bedside and watched him die from lung cancer. Several years later, I found my mother near death in her bathroom from a brain aneurysm – she died that night in Hospice care. When I found her in the afternoon, she had been lying in the floor unconscious for hours. I did not simply pour a cup of coffee and wait for her to expire. I reacted and called a squad and tried to revive her. That’s what we are supposed to do. We help people in need. We care for them and make them comfortable. We don’t push them aside and assume they are of no value.

And four years ago, I stood at the foot of a hospital bed and watched my sister-in-law pass away from a long bout with cancer. In all three cases, there was medication available to ease their pain and suffering. Death eventually came — but it wasn’t invited or caused by a doctor.

A person must first live with dignity before he or she can die with it.

Another argument I have heard is that pro-lifers want the person to suffer and not be allowed to “die with dignity.”

The way a person dies has nothing to do with his or her dignity. When my father was dying in a hospital bed, he lost a little control of his bodily functions. That was not losing his dignity. A person must first live with dignity before he or she can die with it.  His impairments did not erase the 30 years of memories I had of him. Dignity is earned over a lifetime.

Had we chosen to have a doctor come in and “help” my father pass, as Maine is proposing, we would have missed a beautiful death. That might sound odd, so let me explain.

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A few days before my father died, he was awake in bed and talking and laughing. I thought he was making a rebound and might come home. The next day, he slipped into a coma.

My three brothers and I, along with our wives, all gathered in his room with my mother. The death watch was on. I remember when our pastor came to visit. We all gathered around Dad’s bed and softly sang some of his favorite hymns. Then miraculously, Dad opened his eyes for the first time in a couple of days, turned his head toward Mom, who was sitting there holding his hand, and with a single tear trickling down his face, he smiled and took his last breath.

It was a beautiful death.

Assisted suicide would have robbed all of us of that precious memory. My dad taught me how to die with dignity then and there.

I watched my sister-in-law battle ovarian cancer three times before meeting the Lord four years ago. Her life and her death left a legacy. She stubbornly battled cancer and demonstrated an unyielding and courageous faith that taught everyone a lesson. Though she is gone, the “DDFaith” movement remains alive and strong in Southern Ohio.

A sign from the “DDFaith” movement.

If she or her family had chosen to have a doctor end her life when she was first diagnosed,  thousands of lives would not have been touched or changed. She lived and died with dignity.

A dying person has a lot to think about and worrying if their life is going to be extinguished by a doctor should be the last thing on their mind. And that’s what assisted suicide is – it’s asking a doctor to commit a capital offense, and sadly there have been some physicians who have done just that – all for the mighty dollar.

Having gone through the deaths of my parents, I understand the concerns people have who are in favor of assisted suicide. But we as a nation cannot allow doctors to play God and take people’s lives just because patients are sick.

Our society today is selfish and places no value on human life. If the unborn child is an inconvenience – then society encourages abortion. If people don’t want to take care of Mom or Dad in a nursing home – society wants to help them slip off and not be a bother anymore.

The original Hippocratic Oath instructs a doctor “to do no harm.” The original oath forbids the doctor from administering poison and forbids the physician from taking part in euthanasia and/or assisted suicide.

The oath has been revised a few times since then, but the overall message remains the same. A doctor is supposed to help a person heal – not help them die. That to me is doing harm.

Instead of writing off my mom and dad when it would have been easy, my family and I did what was best for them. Dad’s death took a few weeks to come to pass while Mom’s only took hours. That is what we are supposed to do. After all, they took care of me when I could not.

It’s called love. It’s called life. It’s called death. Taking care of people is what we are called to do. That my friend is compassion.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32 KJV)

Let me know your thoughts on this post.

Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.

His latest book, Dugout Devotions: Inspirational Hits from MLB’s Best – can be purchased from New Hope Publishers here, or on Amazon here

 

2 thoughts on “What “Right to Die?””

  1. Del, thank you for sharing some of your difficult personal experiences. I’m so proud of you for tackling this controversial issue (although I cannot believe it’s controversial). I wholeheartedly support what you have written, my friend. I especially like this:
    “It’s called love. It’s called life. It’s called death. Taking care of people is what we are called to do. That my friend is compassion.”
    YES!
    May the Lord continue to bless you and yours, my friend.

    Like

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