marxism-digest V1 #2950 -- Euthanasia

Paul Flewers hatchet.job at
Fri Dec 8 12:18:29 MST 2000

I think that Lou Paulsen made a lot of pertinent points on euthanasia. In
Britain, and I imagine elsewhere, euthanasia is carried out as a matter of
course, it's just not called that. It happened with my mum 11 years ago.
Terminally ill with cancer, her pain-killing opiate drip was turned up to ease
the pain, and it led directly to her death. Did I and the other members of my
family support this action -- unequivocally yes. Who would rather see a person,
a close friend or relation or anyone else, drag out a semi-existence, in pain
and discomfort, and semi-conscious because of the pain-killing drugs, than take
this course?   We have to be careful with whom we ally ourselves in this debate.
I can understand disabled people getting concerned, and the image of Hitler's
inhuman attitude towards mentally and physically handicapped people has been
raised. Nonetheless, it must be emphasised that we are talking about people who
are in the position of my mum, or those who have made it clear that they do not
wish to live under certain debilitating circumstances. The Hitler bogey can be
dealt with here by our declaring that along with support for legal rights to
abortion and euthanasia, we demand the best provisions for people with mental or
physical disabilities. That is, we must keep well clear of the 'right-to-life'
brigade, who -- I can't help thinking -- are more interested in pre-human
foetuses and terminally-ill people who wish to die, than with fighting for real
provisions for people who need them. Hence, I would oppose picketing of
pro-euthanasia doctors.   Following on from Lou, it is also important that we do
not allow the call for euthanasia to be used by health care providers to kill
off people who wish to live but who are costing the providers a lot of money.  
Paul F  

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