Irish pro-lifers have been embattled ever since the repeal of the Eighth Amendment last year, which legalized abortion. Now pro-lifers in the country are readying themselves for a fight on a new life issue, as a poll by the Journal shows that three in five support legalizing euthanasia.
President of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) lamented the creeping erosion of pro-life protections in the Republic of Ireland: “We have witnessed dreadful changes in Ireland in recent years in relation to abortion. Now we are seeing a further threat to innocent lives looming on the horizon. We need to combat these threats by exposing the reality of assisted suicide. Evidence from around the world shows that the so-called right to die quickly becomes the duty to die.”
The recent media spotlight on euthanasia comes from Vicky Phelan, who is known in Ireland for her exposure of massive deficiencies in a government cervical cancer screening program. Because of these mistakes, she missed a critical diagnosis window and is currently suffering from terminal cervical cancer. Now, 45-year-old Phelan has emerged as the latest face of the euthanasia movement in the country. According to the Journal, the mother of two told the Irish Mail on Sunday that she would avail herself of the procedure, and that she would campaign for others who want it. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are currently illegal in Ireland.
As reported by Extra.ie, Phelan explained that she believes she only has two years left to live. “I would be pro-euthanasia, definitely. I would hate to be in a position where I was in a lot of pain or lingering, as can happen a lot, that people are waiting for four or five days for somebody to die,” she said. She portrayed terminal illness as intolerable for both family and patient: “It’s terrible for the patient. It’s terrible for the family having to sit and watch their loved one [dying in pain]. It’s not a nice sight to see people when they’re dying.”
Unfortunately, Phelan isn’t a minority here. According to a poll conducted by the Journal, 63% are in favor of assisted suicide or euthanasia, making it the next major pro-life target in Ireland. Just 16% reported they would not support the legalization of euthanasia in Ireland.
What Phelan and supporters don’t understand is that legalizing euthanasia always ends up hurting society’s most vulnerable. In countries like The Netherlands, euthanasia legalization nearly two decades ago initially began with hard cases like Phelan’s in mind. But the slippery slope of legalizing euthanasia has led to the endangerment of those with mental illness, the elderly, and even children. It’s why former euthanasia activists like Dutch ethicist Theo Boer so ardently warns other countries to avoid going down this path.
A similar case before the high court failed in 2013, but the conversation has since re-emerged and with major countries like New Zealand putting it on the table, it could force the issue in Ireland.
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