Culture of Death: Pediatric Euthanasia

As Belgium is about to pass child euthanasia into law, Delight in Truth will offer a quick review of such practice in light of medical standards and Scripture.

Pediatric euthanasia is the practice of medically assisting in the suicide of a usually terminally ill or hopeless child.  In cases where the child is an infant or a toddler, the euthanasia is no longer an assisted suicide, but a “mercy” killing by a medical professional or the parents.

Pediatric euthanasia is legal only in the Netherlands under the following requirements:

  1. The presence of hopeless and unbearable suffering
  2. The consent of the parents to termination of life
  3. Medical consultation having taken place
  4. Careful execution of the termination

We must specify that euthanasia is NOT what we think about when we consider letting a loved one pass away as they succumb to disease.  I do not endorse aggressive medical interventions in someone who is at the end of the road.    Euthanasia instead is a volitional act of terminating someone’s life prematurely, in this case a child who may not even give their CONSENT to be euthanized.

That is outside of standard medical practice, common sense, and Christian faith.

We have come a long way in alleviating suffering using medications, nerve blocks, nerve and ganglion ablations, epidural and intrathecal medications and many other techniques.  Depression and psychologic hopelessness can also be treated using a variety of interventions.

But to terminate children based on the reasons above!?

That is abominable.

In his sermon in Acts 3, Peter makes a pro-life statement in accusing the Jews of killing Jesus: “you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead.”  The Bible clearly states that God is the the Author of Life, the same author who raised Jesus from the dead.  He alone has power and rights over anyone’s life.

Euthanasia is a satanic act because it accomplishes the purpose of Satan which is stated by Jesus in John 8:44 “[Satan] was a murderer from the beginning and has nothing to do with the truth”

On the other hand, Jesus came to give live, He came to regenerate, He came to bring hope and He came to save.

The Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of Life” who along with the “Author of Life” and “the Way, the Truth and the Life” form a Holy Trinity of Life.

To allow a child to expire is natural, but to euthanize a child is an act of rebellion against the Author of Life.


End-of-Life Comfort Care is not Euthanasia

Euthanasia or physician induced suicide is drastically different from comfort care in the final days or weeks of someone’s life.

Here are some clarifications:

Euthanasia – the intentional physician induced killing of a person for his/her alleged benefit.  The physician ensures that the act is not “botched,” and is typically done by physician or nurse-administered lethal injection.  This is currently legal in a some countries but it is illegal in all the States in the Union.

Physician aid in Dying (PAD) or assisted suicide – here the physician prescribes the lethal injection while the patient self-administers it.  Some form of this practice is legal in Oregon, Washington and Montana.

End-of-Life Comfort Care or Hospice Care – the palliation or alleviation of symptoms at the end of life for terminally ill patients.  The physical goal here is to treat pain and respiratory distress using narcotics which ease the dying process.  Emotional and spiritual care are typically a part of hospice as well.

I have made the argument (here) that euthanasia (and suicide assisted in any way) is a crime against God because we do not have the right to give or take life.  But it is important to realize that comfort care given to a patient who has arrived in the final stages of illness is NOT an assisted suicide.  Comfort care is a compassionate act aimed at making physical and emotional pain manageable in the last few hours to weeks of life.

What about administering narcotics like morphine or fentanyl to patients with end-stage illness?  Doesn’t that directly lead to the patient’s demise?

The answer is NO.  They help ease the patient’s passing, and they are not meant to actually kill him.  The disease pathology ultimately causes the patient’s demise.

As pneumonia or airway complications are usually the final road to passing in many terminally ill patients, the narcotics used in comfort care also help in alleviating the respiratory distress that can become a problem in the last day or two of life.

Anyone who watched a loved one pass away from terminal illness can probably attest that comfort care is almost a polar opposite to euthanasia.

Our God is a God of love, mercy and compassion.  His children must demonstrate and practice these communicable attributes we have received from Him. Compassionate care for terminally ill is in line with these godly attributes.  I do not think it is a stretch to apply this verse to the goal of comfort care at the end of our patients’ lives:

“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Cor 1:3-4

Euthanasia is not the Answer in Affliction


Deaf Belgian brothers Marc and Eddy Verbessem underwent doctor assisted suicide at age 45 after they were told they were going to be blind as a result of a progressive eye disease called glaucoma.

Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002 and the number of cases has risen every year since. In 2011, 1,133 were granted the right to die, of which 86 percent were at least 60 years old and 72 percent suffering from cancer.

What makes this case even more appalling to Christians who value the life that our Creator put in us, is that it was approved under the requirement of “unbearable pain.” The news that blindness would be the end-stage of their illness in the future was described as too much to bear.

The brothers enjoyed a cup of coffee together, and reportedly had a rich conversation right before they received the lethal injection. These are important details to note because they show that the brothers were not depressed, in fact they had fought to earn the right to die for much of the previous two years!

Where is the hope, the joy, the expectation of salvation that is associated with life? The one who came into this world to kill and destroy, the ancient serpent who initiated the fall of man has blinded them into believing that death is the answer. There is nothing more untrue than that.

The life we have been given is not our own, and born-again Christians understand this fundamental truth. Our life and even our bodies are not our own.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that “… your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God. You are not your own.” What right do we have to kill our body?

Even our life is not our own. Again Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:15 that “those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.”

Romans 8 names the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of life.  And it is by the Holy Spirit that life is continually sustained:  “If it were [God’s] intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath, all humanity would perish together and mankind would return to the dust.” Job 34:14-15

These are just a few of the reasons why we believe that euthanasia is a sin against God.  He alone in His manifold wisdom and purpose can give and take life as He pleases.

These two brothers made a sane, calculated decision in their actions.

By taking their life into their own hands they made themselves the gods of their life, and they sacrificed their life unto themselves, like the Canaanites sacrificed their own to Molech.  This was their final deed… their final idolatrous act of self-worship.

We know that death by suicide or euthanasia is not the answer when difficulties arise in this fallen world.  Jesus is the ultimate solution because only He can restore hope in affliction and eternal life after our passing.


How America Made an Ungodly Choice

America voted and the results were not only wrong and unwise, the critical choices made were ungodly. In most situations where a vote hinged on biblical principles, America decided to go against God.

I do not pretend that this is Christian country or that it ever was, but America was founded on Christian principles, and we have a large population of Christians. But their voice was drowned out by an increasingly secular majority.

Here is a list of what I mean:

1. Colorado has legalized the recreational use of the psychedelic drug marijuana. It is now legal to get high in the mile-high city. Three other states legalized marijuana for medical use.

2. Massachusetts joined Oregon and Washington in allowing assisted suicide, also known as euthanasia.

3. Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington all voted in favor of gay marriage. This was a huge sweeping victory for LGBT activists in four out of four states. They succeeded in elevating this issue to the level of civil rights.

4. America re-elected Obama, who supports the pro-abortion agenda, the forced contraceptive mandate, the desecration of the traditional family, and has taken an anti-Israel stance on multiple occasions.

But ultimately we know that God is in control of past, present, and future, and everything that happens contributes to His mysterious plan.

He states: “for I am God, and… …‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,” Isaiah 46:9-10

We will now wait and see how His mighty plan will unveil itself in these last days.