Friday, October 27, 2017
IFI Staff
Murder and Suicide Cannot Be Compassionate

Why is the news media so determined to rebrand suicide, and specifically physician-assisted suicide, as compassionate?

Take the tragic events that unfolded in Joshua Tree National Park last week. After spending a few weeks lost in the southeastern California national park, Joseph Orbeso, 21, shot and killed his girlfriend, Rachel Nguyen, before killing himself.

Nguyen’s uncle called Orbeso’s deed “an act of compassion,” a claim parroted by many media outlets in their reporting on the story. Family members speculate that a hungry and exhausted Orbeso committed the murder-suicide when Nguyen became injured after weeks of rationing food.

This most recent story is part of commonly presented news narrative rebranding suicide, and specifically physician-assisted suicide, as compassionate.

Jeanette Hall rejected assisted suicide and beat her illness.The debate reached a boiling point three years ago when Brittany Maynard, a 29 year-old who had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, began advocating for what she called “death with dignity” on behalf of the physician-assisted suicide advocacy group Compassion and Choices. But the debate has resurfaced since Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Death With Dignity Act into law last year. 

At a press conference during recent congressional debates about the new D.C. law, Ohio Rep. Brad R. Wenstrup clearly presented the danger of normalizing suicide: “My feeling is when the government supports, encourages or facilitates suicide, whether assisted by physicians or otherwise, we devalue our fellow citizens, our fellow human beings. I don’t believe that’s who we should be.”

Rep. Wenstrup is right. Suicide cheapens life. Physician-assisted suicide is particularly dangerous since it turns those very people who swore an oath to “do no harm” into murderers. We shouldn’t allow society to redefine suicide and murder as compassionate.

In the words of John Locke, the philosopher and theologian most quoted by the American founding fathers during the national struggle for independence, we are all the workmanship of our Creator, made to serve “at his pleasure.” Because we are not our own, we have no authority to take our own lives. That’s a simple truth that should be remembered.

Stand with IFI for the sanctity of human life. Please help support our efforts to oppose policies like physician-assisted suicide that devalue life.

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