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Sen. James Lankford voices opposition to physician-assisted suicide

On Thursday, February 27th, Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) took part in a panel discussion at The Heritage Foundation regarding physician-assisted suicide. In his opening remarks, Lankford stated his beliefs that human life has value and dignity, regardless of whether the person is healthy or ill.

CNS News reports on his remarks:

“When you deal with the issue of poverty, this immediately rises up – care is expensive, assisted suicide is not,” Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said at a Monday panel on physician-assisted suicide at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

The elderly sick may also be taken advantage of, the senator added. They may be told by their families that they are a “burden” on others, or they may simply feel that way.  Then “this becomes a guilt issue” as they consider requesting a lethal prescription, he said.

Lankford stated in his Facebook post, “The slippery slope ramification of legalizing this has a major impact on the medical profession, as well as how our society treats the disabled, the poor and the elderly.”

CNS News also reports that Washington, D.C., and six states (Washington, Oregon, California, Vermont, and Colorado) currently allow physician-assisted suicide, and 24 more states are currently considering legalization.

“I have a very dear family member… that was given a diagnosis of six months to live in 1981, and she is still kicking,” Lankford said in his opening remarks, emphasizing that medical science cannot state with certainty how long a person’s life will be.

One of the greatest dangers of assisted suicide, says Lankford, is that the cost of care is so much greater than the cost of assisted suicide, and this may pressure families (especially impoverished families) to make choices for family members based on the expense of care rather than based on “the dignity of the individual.”

Physician-assisted suicide is all too often glamorized as “death with dignity” — but the desire for suicide, in other scenarios, is not looked upon favorably by society. This contradiction should cause us to question whether assisted suicide is truly about “dignity” or whether it is about a desire to ease a perceived burden caused by the illness of a vulnerable individual.

 As Live Action News’ Cassy Fiano pointed out:

If a normal, healthy person openly says that they want to kill themselves, then it is a virtual guarantee that no one will shrug their shoulders and tell them that it’s their choice to decide when they die. Suicide is a horrific act that we recognize is often caused by depression — an actual medical condition — or by a person who feels that they have no other choice.

What’s the solution? Fiano writes, “Instead of agreeing with them that their life is meaningless or that it would be better to just end it all, we try to get them medical treatment, to help them see that their life has value.”

Those who are the opposite of healthy, who are most vulnerable to becoming victims of the mentality of the assisted-suicide movement, deserve the same kind of medical care — not certain death.

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