By Jeff Dykstra
Do you find it harder to make the case against euthanasia than against abortion? That might be, in part, because we have less experience – abortion has been legal in Canada since 1969, and euthanasia only since 2016.
Also, in abortion, we have victims who need advocates because they can’t speak for themselves, whereas in euthanasia the victims are also the perpetrators. How do you help someone who doesn’t want to be helped – who wants to die?
And consider how, in euthanasia, many of the cases involve terminal illnesses, and so have the same emotional tension as the hardest cases – those involving rape and incest – have in the abortion debate.
That’s why it’s more difficult.
JUST TWO OPTIONS
But, just as in the abortion debate, the key is to first find the central issue.
With abortion, the main question is, “Who is the unborn?” There are only two options. If the unborn is not human, there is no justification needed for “its” surgical removal. But if the unborn is human, then no justification is sufficient for killing him or her.
As in Blaise Alleyne and Jonathan Van Maren’s explain in their new book, A Guide to Discussing Assisted Suicide Similarly, the crux of opposition to euthanasia can also be boiled down to just one question:
How do we help those who are feeling desperate enough to want to kill themselves?
And again, there are only two options: either we prevent suicide, or we assist it.
Alleyne and Van Maren have given us a wonderful tool in this book. Their extensive experience in the pro-life movement is evident as they start by framing the debate. If we’re going to be effective, pro-lifers need to understand the three possible positions that people hold on this issue. They are:
- the split position – we should prevent some suicides while helping others
- the total choice position – anyone who wants to commit suicide should be helped to do so
- and the pro-life position – all life is precious, and all suicides are tragic