New York Times columnist Ross Douthat takes on assisted suicide and euthanasia in a column that uses the words of Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, to make a case against the slippery slope that begins with physician-assisted suicide.
This month the state of Montana will decide whether to endorse physician-assisted suicide, as has been done in neighboring Oregon and Washington.
"What’s at stake is the right to voluntary euthanasia, not the sort of involuntary plug-pulling that some Republicans have claimed is concealed in the finer print of the current health care reform proposals. But you don’t have to share Sarah Palin’s death panel fears to see perils lurking at the intersection of physician-assisted suicide and health care reform."
What I think is the most telling paragraph of this column, however, is an observation by Douthat that explains the mindset behind the push for assisted suicide:
"In each case, the goal is perfect autonomy, perfect control, and absolute freedom of choice. And in each case, the alternative approach — one that emphasizes the limits of human agency, and the importance of humility in the face of death’s mysteries — doesn’t mesh with our national DNA."
I think that's the crux of this issue. In a country and a time where we believe we have a right to just about everything, people do not want to imagine being out of control. They want to know they can end their own suffering, prevent the "indignities" that sometimes come with illness and age. Our faith, however, reminds us that suffering on the road to death is sometimes part of the journey, a mysterious part but a part nonetheless. No one wants to suffer, but we have learned from those who have gone before us that times of suffering are also often times of grace. The answer is not an injection. The answer is trust in God's plan, even when we don't understand the plan.
Read Douthat's full column HERE.