Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sometimes the "Right" to End a Life Isn't Right

It's been 3 months since my last post. The bizarre hijinks of the 2008 general election, and the new Obama administration have left me wondering if anything has a point anymore.

In the last couple of weeks, there have been several significant news stories. In Florida, an abortionist is under investigation for completing an "abortion" after the baby was born alive (in 2005), and the state medical examiner is being questioned as to how this was not a suspicious death. In California, quadruplets, some or all of whom were not expected to survive, ALL celebrated their first birthday. The mother stated how happy she was that she didn't listen to the people who urged her to terminate one or more of the fetuses. In Oceanside, California, a comatose man woke from a coma just after the family gave permission to stop life support. Tragically, an 11 year old Pennsylvania boy has been charged with two counts of homicide for the killing of his father's girlfriend and her unborn child. That's just in the last two weeks.

The unborn, the elderly, the injured, and the vulnerable depend on society as a whole to protect them. Our society has been failing to meet this obligation, even encouraging abdication of responsibility where inconvenient. Families are encouraged to hasten the deaths of those supremely vulnerable lives, who are not even aware of their plight. Calm deliberation is not encouraged. Platitudes about how, "It's for the best," and other options being worse, defy rational thinking. Perhaps the worst aspect of rushed, life-altering decisions is the lifetime of regret and anguish that follows those who make a terrible and irreversible decision to end a life.

I am not calling for an end to abortion, or keeping the terminal alive beyond sane limits. All I am suggesting is that the decision to end a life be taken very very seriously, and the decision to council someone to end a life be very thoroughly considered. Sometimes, tragic as it may be, the decision to let a life end is the right decision. Even Christ himself said, "Leave the dead to the dead," when a would-be follower asked him to wait a day for him to bury a family member. Yet, when is this suggestion wise, and when is it just out of a petty desire to keep the lives of others as simple as possible? Ethics is not an exact science. Ethics is a fundamental determination to strive to make the right decisions after carefully considering all aspects of the question. All the news stories mentioned above have one thing in common. Someone callously decided that an innocent, helpless person should die.

And they were wrong.