The pro-life movement has, for decades, worked to stop the willful taking of innocent human life: saving the unborn, helping their mothers who are desperately depressed after killing their children, and doing whatever it takes to stop abortionists from taking more than one life in every abortion.
In recent years, this fight has expanded to help individuals threatened by euthanasia and assisted suicide. Or forced versions of these. Abortion kills someone who didn’t ask for death, so shouldn’t euthanasia be less of an ethical dilemma than abortion? Well, hopefully not.
The legalization and acceptance of assisted suicide and euthanasia are an inherent threat to the lives of suicidal and self-harming people. Because, once accepted, these decisions are seen as a choice every individual has the right to make. We who support the inherent dignity of human life have a duty to support suicidal people in need of comfort and care, and to offer them meaning in their lives. But this “choice” mentality eats away at caring in our health services.
I was suicidal for years. I overdosed on about everything you can overdose on, and some things no one thought imaginable. Not drugs, but basic medications. I for so long wanted to die.
Years into this, I heard the song “Feel” by Robbie Williams.
I don’t wanna die, but I ain’t keen on living either.
Boy, that hit. It was exactly how I felt. I really didn’t wanna die; life was just too freaking hard. I grew up in a family where I was totally rejected by my so-called mother, causing the ghost of suicide to fall in my mind at the tender age of 12. I somehow coped, but as the result of the trauma I experience(d), as it is not over yet, I developed a trauma-related disorder called borderline personality disorder. This is the psychiatry version of third-degree burns. Core symptoms are extreme sensitivity to rejection, mood swings, and those often related to self-injurious behavior.
Much of this behavior can be life-threatening. We are talking about cutting, burning, unsafe sexual behavior, drugs. One girl I heard of even used abortion as a way of hurting herself.
These actions have a clear tendency to bring a sufferer in contact with the health care system. Stitches, stomach-pumping, observation, etc. There are so many health care professionals who treat us well, but also many who treat us like crap. Words like “We are obligated to save your life, but was it my choice, I would not bother.”
What does that sound like in the heart of a person so desperate, so hurt, so rejected? “Why don’t you just jump off a cliff, are you a coward?” are also spoken. The same nurse actually warned me not to come back to the only hospital in the region for the next few nights, because she was on. Maybe the worst was after a sure-fatal overdose without treatment, when the nurse told me, “Next time, you don’t tell anyone.”
At first I couldn’t believe it, but when she repeated it, there was no doubt. Well, I showed her. Next time I didn’t tell, and I ended up in a coma with the risk of permanent brain injury due to prolonged hypoxia.
And that is what happens when we actually do receive care. Then there are people who believe that suicide is a choice, a right. No, it isn’t. Suicide is a final rejection, the utmost cold shoulder. At least when encouraged or facilitated by others.
And if suicide is accepted, how many of these desperate young people, mostly women, are denied the love they deserve? I am, of course, thinking of women like this woman who was euthanized after sex-change surgery. She never experienced love from anyone. This person, made to be loved, thrown away into death. Is this the best we can do?
When women like her get killed, what will happen to young suicidal people simply not knowing that “they don’t want to die, they are just not keen on living either”? These people need to feel loved. Death is the easy way out. It’s like the abortion clinic escorts. Facilitating death and moving on to the next one, instead of actually caring, because that might actually cost you something – something like time, money, or more.
The same applies to suicide. Encouraging or facilitating suicide is easy; the victims are dead. But helping them, loving them, making them feel valuable, that takes time – you actually have to care.
We have to take the hard way, helping people choosing life, before attempting death becomes the “choice” that wasn’t supposed to be made but became the result. These people, having been traumatized and rejected, need to know love before they give up. They need to know that their lives are valuable, and that they matter. That their lives count.
I don’t believe in the bodily autonomy argument for abortion, and not for suicide, either. Bodily autonomy is like saying, “Do what you want; I don’t care enough about you to bother helping you.” More than any, these people deserve our help. A life lost to abortion or euthanasia is a tragedy. And a life lost to human cruelty that shapes the rejected girl’s personality and hope is another tragedy. We cannot let this happen on our watch.
Love is the antidote to death. We must give it before those who just want the problem to disappear fool people into death.
We must also realize that those who have suffered are especially suited to guide those who still struggle. We need these people.