Suicide prevention campaigns are hypocritical when assisted suicide is pushed in today’s society by the regressive left, writes Caleb Stephen.
I was terribly sad to read that a Victorian mum has become the first person to fall victim to the state’s new retrograde euthanasia laws.
Kerry Robertson, 61, suicided by lethal poison at a nursing home in Bendigo on July 15 having battled breast cancer for almost a decade.
She was the first person to be granted the permit in Victoria, having visited her specialist the day legislation came into effect.
This is a tragedy, but it isn’t shocking. Especially when we consider the direction public opinion has been heading in recent times in relation to end of life matters.
You see, our culture has become used to the glorification of death. Many now believe that to assist a person to commit suicide is somehow an “empowering” experience.
What I find most illogical about the situation is that we have media promoting suicide prevention awareness campaigns at the same time they are actively promoting euthanasia.
As a society, we need to seriously question this glaring hypocrisy.
Back in 2017, I had the pleasure of interviewing US doctor William Toffler of the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) when he touched down in Australia for a whirlwind speaking tour.
Dr Toffler is a practicing doctor in the state of Oregon where euthanasia has been legal for over 20 years.
I asked Dr Toffler whether he saw a conflict between suicide prevention and euthanasia.
"There's clearly a conflict between suicide prevention which I'm not only entrusted to do, I'm empowered if I can’t keep a person safe from themselves to even put them in the hospital against their will to protect them.
"So here we now are empowering doctors to do exactly the opposite under the circumstances of labelling someone 'terminal'. I'm now empowered to give massive overdoses so they can kill themselves. I'm essentially a helper in suicides.
"In Oregon, this has clearly eroded the protection for people with suicidal ideations and desires and in fact, we have no money now going to suicide prevention programs.
"The suicide rate in Oregon has gone up. It was above the national average before passage of assisted suicide. And now it's going up at a rate even faster.
"Now I can't prove cause and effect. On the other hand, it's not reassuring if people think by legalizing assisted suicide that you somehow decrease non-assisted suicide rates.
"The states of Oregon and Washington both undermine that argument. And I've literally heard people espouse such an argument that somehow by legalizing and regulating it that you would have less of it.
"We actually have a phenomenon that news reporters here in Australia know very well. Suicide can be contagious. So at the end of the article about the tragedy of the three people killing themselves in Queensland, there's a note saying if you feel depressed and you need help, call this number. And of course we're doing that because we care and value lives and we don't want to encourage suicide as the solution to suffering.
"Never has the solution to suffering been to end the life of the sufferer.
"We need to redouble our efforts to help with pain management, we need to get consultation from palliative care, we need to invoke a transition from curative care to comfort care but care's always there. We should emphasize care, not killing."
Euthanasia, contrary to popular belief, is not purely a personal choice. By definition it requires at least one other person to assist and a social commitment not to prosecute those who do assist.
It goes without saying that euthanasia affects society as a whole. The bottom line is that it effectively turns doctors into killers, not caregivers.
It is very difficult to be a caregiver one day and a killer the next. Legalising euthanasia creates an insurmountable moral and ethical dilemma. As with forced abortion referrals in Queensland, many doctors will be forced to leave the profession when so-called “medical care” compels them to refer patients to their premature death.
This cultural push towards killing must be stopped in its tracks.
Caleb is in charge of Digital Communications & Media at FamilyVoice.
Prior to working fulltime with FamilyVoice, Caleb was an investigative journalist, ghostwriter, commentator and editor for some of the largest news outlets in the United States, Israel and Australia.
Outside of FamilyVoice, Caleb enjoys working with youth and the homeless and is an emergency services volunteer.