The linked statement, which appeared in the Journal of Critical Care, does away with whatever illusions anyone had that only the willing are killed under assisted suicide and euthanasia laws. Euthanasia is legal in Belgium, but until now patient consent has been required. Now Belgian doctors are asserting the right to decide which patients, including children, are euthanized.
In the US so-called “assisted suicide” laws do not protect patients who have filled lethal prescriptions from euthanasia, voluntary or involuntary. Even if the wording about self-administration were not ambiguous, the laws’ failure to require witnesses at the time the lethal dose is ingested leaves patients vulnerable to involuntary euthanasia, or worse.
For now, only those who have gotten the poison are at risk.
If these laws remain in place, however, the myth of consent will inexorably give way to the demands of efficiency, cloaked in the guise of “mercy”. Who in the world is naive enough to think doctors, who already decide who can or can’t have a poison prescription where these are legal, won’t just decide exactly when everyone dies? The doctors in Belgium feel no need even to pretend otherwise. Unless we can stop the spread of legal assisted suicide, they are the vanguard of what will first be established as custom and then by law: involuntary euthanasia. That should scare us all.