Why is Euthanasia Wrong?

Author: A.L.L.


American Life League

Christians have no authority to commit suicide in any circumstance. It is significant that in the sacred canonical books there can nowhere be found any injunction or permission to commit suicide either to ensure immortality or to avoid or escape any evil. In fact, we must understand it to be forbidden by the law "You shall not kill" (Exodus 20:13), particularly as there is no addition of "your neighbor" as in the prohibition of false witness, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" (Exodus 20:16).

                                                                            St. Augustine, The City of God.[1]

The Ultimate Questions.

If a man loses his reverence for any part of life, he will lose his reverence for all life.

                                                                                                Albert Schweitzer.[2]

Euthanasia: The so-called 'last right.' The inevitable and natural followup to abortion.

Euthanasia follows abortion as certainly as night follows day.

When people speak of the philosophical aspects of euthanasia, they will inevitably return again and again to the central focus of the issue. They will invariably be forced to consider the two ultimate questions regarding euthanasia.

These are;

(1) Why is euthanasia right (or wrong)?, and
(2) Should we not be able to determine the ultimate disposition of our own 

These very logical questions may be answered on several very different levels, as described in the following paragraphs.

Direct vs. Passive Euthanasia.

Before any intelligent discussion on euthanasia may proceed, the critical differences between direct euthanasia, passive euthanasia, and natural death must be precisely defined.

Note that the pro-euthanasia lobby has made much of its gains by deliberately confusing lawmakers and the public by blurring the lines between direct and passive euthanasia and a natural death. It is essential for anti-euthanasia activists to know these terms intimately, or they will be confused and ineffective in their efforts.

• Direct euthanasia is action taken for the purpose of hastening death. These measures may include lethal injection by a physician, or any one of a number of more clumsy methods undertaken by amateurs such as poisoning and suffocation.

• Passive euthanasia is action withheld for the purpose of hastening death. These measures would include the withholding or withdrawal of non-heroic measures, to include food, hydration, and oxygenation. One exception is noted below.

• Natural death means to allow a person to die in comfort and peace by withholding aggressive treatment that would only cause pain and lengthen the person's lifespan by a very modest or insignificant amount. Note that, if the same treatment were withheld from a person whose lifespan would be greatly lengthened by it, such action would instead be passive euthanasia. Examples of this type of euthanasia would be the thousands of infanticides committed each year in this country by withholding food and water from handicapped newborns who would otherwise have lived long lives.

Why Euthanasia is Wrong, Dead Wrong.

The remainder of this chapter discusses the reasons that the act of euthanasia is fundamentally wrong, as listed below, and concludes by listing a number of anti-euthanasia groups that concerned activists may wish to join.


(1) Euthanasia is irreversible;
(2) Euthanasia sets a bad example;
(3) Euthanasia is entropic;
(4) Euthanasia is myopic and lazy;
(5) Euthanasia is despair personified; and
(6) Euthanasia is not of God.

Reason #1: Euthanasia is Forever.

When I visited the starving people in Ethiopia, I could hardly have imagined that providing them with food and water, even though artificially brought in from the Western world at tremendous expense, would be considered 'medical treatment.'

                                                                                    Cardinal John J. O'Connor.[3]


It is a curious fact that most pro-euthanasia activists are opposed to capital punishment, primarily because mistakes can be made when administering the death penalty. In other words, once a person has been executed, not even the most conclusive proof of his innocence can bring him back to life.

Precisely the same reasoning may be used to oppose euthanasia. There are literally scores of medical cases on record where people have been judged to be "irreversibly comatose," and then have awakened to lead perfectly normal lives. In fact, it is safe to say that there are many more people who have awakened from 'irreversible' comas than there are innocent people who have been executed in this country.

The "Right to Die" is not a right it is the taking away of all possible rights.

Dead men don't choose.

A few cases where euthanasia was considered but rendered moot when the patient in question recovered are outlined below.

Teisa Franklin.

This little 21-month old girl ingested a huge quantity of anti-depressant drugs on February 4, 1988, and lapsed into a deep coma. After a rather cursory examination, doctors at Mercy Hospital pronounced her clinically brain dead and stated that she would be a good candidate for organ donation. However, only 18 hours after slipping into the coma, she began to recover, and, on February 11, only one week after the near-fatal incident, she was released from the hospital.[4]

Erin Shanahan, Mercy Hospital's perplexed head pediatric nurse, said that "We never would have guessed it would turn out like this."[4]

This is precisely why the euthanasia of comatose persons is such a dangerous practice.

Scott and Jeff Mueller.

These twin boys were born in 1981 sharing a leg and large intestine. They were fully developed from the waist up. The attending 'physician,' Petra Warren, decided that they were not worthy of life and attached a "DO NOT FEED" sign to their bassinet. Several nurses disobeyed this order and fed the babies sugar water, which saved their lives.[5]

They were successfully separated at Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital the following year. Scott died of heart problems in 1984, but Jeff is thriving and lives a normal lifestyle.

Predictably, the 'parents' and the 'doctor' were let off scott-free.

Jacqueline Cole.

Mrs. Cole awoke on May 15, 1986, 47 days after lapsing into a deep coma induced by a stroke. Her husband, a Presbyterian 'minister,' had gone to court on May 9 just six days before to have her disconnected from her life support systems. Fortunately for her, Baltimore Circuit Judge John Brynes refused his request.

This 'minister' said that he had "no regrets" at trying to allow his wife to die.[6]

Michelle Odette.

Marie Odette Henderson was 26 weeks pregnant when she was declared brain-dead on June 7, 1986, after suffering a stroke three days earlier. Despite the fact that she was carrying a viable baby, Miss Henderson's parents decided to allow her and her baby to die by disconnecting her from her life support systems.

Henderson's fiance, Derrick Poole, decided to fight for his baby's life and obtained a court order barring Marie's disconnection until after the baby was delivered.

Dr. Donald Dyson delivered a healthy baby girl at 33 weeks gestation. Michelle Odette's weight was 4 pounds, 5 ounces. Marie Henderson was then disconnected from her life support systems and died three hours later.

However, she lives on in her child.

Carrie Coons.

Carrie A. Coons, 86, of Rensselear, New York, was declared to be in an "absolutely irreversible vegetative state" by her doctors after she suffered a stroke and cerebral hemorrhage in November of 1988. For nearly five months, she neither spoke nor showed any signs of alertness. Her 88-year old sister and various doctors and lawyers petitioned the state Supreme Court to allow the removal of her feeding tube. Her doctor, Michael Wolff, a nationally recognized expert in geriatric medicine, declared that she was in a "hopeless" state with "absolutely no chance of recovery."[7]

Coons was the first New York citizen whose petition to die was granted by the State Supreme Court. However, just two days after the Court granted the petition, she woke up and began to eat and speak. Judge Joseph Harris wadded up the right-to-die writ when he heard that she had recovered.

Neurologist Ronald Cranford of Minneapolis, a White House commission advisor on right-to-die issues, stated that "It's a dramatic case. It shows you that you're basically never dealing with certainties here."[7]

Once again, this is why both direct and passive euthanasia should be banned.

Harold Cybulski.

The doctors were all ready. 79-year old grandfather Harold Cybulski of Barry's Bay, Ontario, had been pronounced "brain dead and comatose," and the experts who pronounced him so stood by to disconnect his life support systems just as soon as his family said their last goodbyes.

When his two-year old grandson ran into the room and yelled "Grandpa!," Cybulski woke up, sat up, and picked up the little boy!

Six months later, he was leading a completely normal life, to include driving the new car he had been looking forward to buying before he became comatose.

Cybulski's doctors could find "no explanation" for his instant recovery.[8]

Barbie Blodgett and Her Baby.

On June 30, 1988, near Yakima, Washington, the car that 24-year old Barbie Blodgett was riding in was struck by a drunk driver. Three months pregnant at the time, she slipped into a persistent coma, and experts believed that she would never regain consciousness, because her cerebrum, the large part of the brain which controls consciousness and voluntary functions, was simply not working at all. She was unable to speak or eat and was fed through a stomach tube.[9]

Other experts predicted grimly that the baby she was carrying would die and/or would worsen her condition to the point of death.

However, her pro-life family maintained hope and continued to pray. And on December 9, 1988, 8-pound Simon Alan Blodgett was born perfectly healthy. Dr. Thomas Benedetti, director of perinatal medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, stated that this was the fourth instance known of a comatose woman giving birth.[9]

The day after the baby was born, Barbara Blodgett recognized her son, Simon, and began to regain consciousness. A month later, she could communicate and feed her newborn. A year later, she was still partially paralyzed and had to communicate via a computer keyboard. But she said that she "hoped to walk and talk before Simon does," and seemed ready to achieve the goals she had set for herself.[9]


In every one of the cases described above and in dozens of others that go unreported every year people were condemned to death by health professionals who were all "absolutely certain" that they would never recover.

And, in a large percentage of these cases, the patient did recover, either partially or completely.

In light of this dismal prediction record, it is perfectly obvious that, when dealing with PVS patients, there is no such thing as a "sure thing." It is also quite obvious that the primary motivations of the so-called 'health' professionals are the conservation of medical resources and cost containment, not the conservation or betterment of human life.

It is truly the height of irony that our society will spend literally millions of dollars on multiple appeals to make absolutely certain that every person executed by the State is guilty of some heinous crime but is so reluctant to take the same kind of care with those whose only crime is being deemed 'life not worthy of life' by the medical profession.

Reason #2: Euthanasia Sets a Bad Example.

Evil committed for a good cause remains evil.
Even when it succeeds?
Above all when it succeeds.

                                                         Victor Hugo, History of a Crime (1877).[10]

The Payback Is Coming.

Regardless of whether or not we like it, our primary function as adults in this society is to set the example for younger and less experienced persons even if we have no children ourselves. After all, what we teach the young will largely determine how they run the world after they inherit it and this, in turn, will determine what kind of world our grandchildren will inherit.

What we teach the young will also determine how they treat us when we are elderly and infirm.

Impacts On Teen Suicide.

The teen suicide rate in this country has tripled in the last fifteen years to more than 2,500 deaths per year, as discussed in Chapter 88 of Volume II, "Suicide by Teenagers." We read about suicide pacts and teen murder/suicides on a weekly basis. Experts in the demographics of suicide (suicidologists) already call this situation 'epidemic.'

What kind of an example does Janet Adkins give to teenagers when she kills herself just because her piano playing is beginning to deteriorate? Or because she may experience some unknown degree of pain eight to ten years down the road pain that could easily be alleviated?

How will we tell a despondent teenager that he has no right to kill himself if the cheerleader he adores spurns him? How about the young girl whose pet cat dies? Or who becomes pregnant too soon? Or the boy who doesn't make the baseball team? Or who gets a failing grade on his report card?

Teenagers don't respond to a double standard. They don't accept the adage "Do as I say, not as I do." If euthanasia becomes legal and accepted by society, we must expect our 'epidemic' of teen suicide to become a 'pandemic,' with 10,000 to 20,000 additional cases per year. How will we react to a pandemic of teen suicide without appearing (and being) grossly hypocritical?

Reason #3: Euthanasia is Entropic.

Disorder = Death.

Entropy is the measure of the degree of disorder of systems. And all systems from the smallest to the largest, and from the simplest to the most complex tend to accumulate entropy, unless positive steps are taken to prevent this process. This immutable principle applies equally to living and nonliving systems.

Changing States.

Every type of system requires effort in order to maintain it in an ordered state. Every type of system, if it is neglected, will begin to decay and disintegrate.

• A lawn will sprout weeds unless the gardener remains vigilant. Eventually, if it is not cared for, the lawn will return to its original riotous, biologically diverse, and disordered state.

• A pickup truck will rust, detune, and accumulate beer cans unless the driver has pride of ownership. Eventually, if it is not maintained, it will fall apart and will be hauled to a junkyard.

• We read lately about our country's deteriorating infrastructure. Our roads, bridges, and water and sewer systems are falling apart because not enough maintenance money is allocated to them. The fight against disorder is being lost.

• Our bodies, as they age, accumulate aches and pains as organs wear out and begin to malfunction. We must feed our bodies the proper foods, exercise, and refrain from destructive activities like the use of tobacco products, illegal drugs, and excessive alcohol. Eventually, if our bodies are not maintained, they will sicken and die far too soon.

• Our consciences require constant exercise and discipline. If we do not maintain constant vigilance over our attitudes and beliefs, we will become self-centered. We will live only for self-gratification. Eventually, our consciences will sicken and die.

• A society requires unselfish, hard-working, imaginative and patriotic individuals for its survival. When its individual members become obsessed with themselves and their own selfish pleasures, a society will sicken and eventually be absorbed by other cultures. This principle holds true even for animal-based clans and troops.

• The principle of increasing entropy applies even to the largest system of all the universe. As long as prodigious quantities of energy in all its forms is being exchanged, the universe will live on. However, tens of billions of years from now, the universe will 'wind down' and will experience its 'heat death,' when everything is the same temperature and entropy (disorder) is at a maximum.

Anti-Life Entropy.

Entropy, while a fact of life everywhere, is considered 'bad' in virtually all cases. When highly organized systems (i.e., cars, computers, bodies, minds and societies) increase their degree of entropy drastically, they will rust, break down, or die.

The anti-life mentality is essentially entropic. It favors contraception, sterilization, abortion, and euthanasia. This strange mindset strives to destroy the natural and efficient function of the human reproductive system, and ultimately, considers man to be just another animal.

Curiously, while it considers humanity just another species of animal, it fails to recognize that non-instinct driven euthanasia is unknown in the animal world.

If It Grows Alone Watch It!

It is a universal axiom that anything manmade that is 'good' is difficult to initiate, maintain, or expand, while it is difficult to prevent what is 'bad' from spontaneously initiating, continuing, or expanding.

In other words, 'bad' manmade or man-influenced things grow by themselves; 'good' things must be continuously nurtured.

As stated above, a 'good' lawn requires continuous maintenance or it will sprout 'bad' weeds all over the place; a 'good' truck requires constant attention or it will become rusted and detuned; a 'good' teenager must be nurtured or he will acquire 'bad' habits like drug or alcohol use. Lawns do not police themselves, and trucks do not tune and maintain themselves.

By commutative reasoning, we may infer that whatever is man-influenced and grows by itself is 'bad.' This is particularly true of social issues.

Abortion is a good example of this reasoning. In a period of just five years, it expanded relentlessly, almost effortlessly, from a few exceptions in a few states to a universal 'right' available through all nine months of pregnancy all over the country. By contrast, a 'good' social expansion is the civil rights movement, which required decades of struggle on many fronts, the martyrdom of dozens, and is still not complete.

Another 'good' example of civil rights activism is our own pro-life (anti-abortion) movement, which must struggle relentlessly against the full weight of the media and the state and Federal governments. Every small advance must be vigilantly guarded, or it will be reabsorbed quickly and effortlessly.

We can see that euthanasia is expanding relentlessly and effortlessly, just as abortion did twenty years ago. We began our euthanasia 'program' with a few extreme cases allowing those in extreme agony, days from dying, to pass away peacefully and passively and now, we annually have thousands of handicapped newborns dying of neglect and many more thousands of elderly secretly 'put away' by our doctors and nursing homes.

Making Our Bed ...

One good way of telling whether something is "good" or "bad" is by measuring the amount of confusion it causes (confusion being defined in this case as hindrance(s) to communication and/or understanding). If something is incomprehensible to the common man, it is usually something that is not in his best interests. If a social proposal is confusing and undecipherable, it is usually something that Neoliberals are trying to "slip by" us.

As always, anyone who sees the euthanasia issue in "black and white" terms is condemned as "simplistic" by the Hemlock Society and other Neoliberal organizations. It is in the best interests of these groups to make the issue appear to be as complicated and as vague as possible, because then the vast majority of the public will feel timid and unqualified to comment or even hold an opinion on it.

This is the mighty weapon of "mystagoguery" that worked so well for the pro-abortionists, particularly regarding the issue of "when life begins." Now the Neoliberals are trying to confuse us as to when human life ends.

Reason #4: The Euthanasia Mentality is Myopic and Lazy.

Pro-euthanasia lobbyists are notoriously shortsighted and unimaginative. They believe that everyone should be able to do away with themselves, and they also believe that society has no interest in such self-destructive acts.

This is unmitigated rubbish. Every person who enters our society develops, throughout his life, a web of relationships so complex that it can never be completely summarized or traced. Every person significantly affects hundreds of other members of this society every year, often without realizing it.

A society-system is roughly analogous to a human body. Its major cities represent organs; the capital is the brain (in the United States, this 'brain' appears to be mentally handicapped); the interstate highways are the arteries, and local roads are the capillaries, carrying nutrients to every cell. We, as individuals, might represent blood cells conveying nutrients to every other cell and organ in the body.

In this setting, euthanasia could be considered a type of leukemia, where individual blood cells start destroying themselves randomly and at an ever-increasing rate.

No human body can live with an acute case of leukemia, and no society can endure if its people destroy themselves at a high enough rate.

All of a healthy body's cells work together to promote the common good of the body. Similarly, individual persons work together to advance the common good of society. Each of us plays a vital part in this many-faceted corpus. Just as our bodies could not survive if individual cells took it upon themselves to randomly 'self-destruct,' our society cannot tolerate the accelerated destruction of individuals without serious damage.

Reason #5: Euthanasia is Despair Personified.

What deeper expression of despair is there than to kill oneself?

Everyone has, at one time or another, experienced despair so deep that they may have even thought of how easy it would be to just 'let go' and die. This kind of depression is no joke, and it does no good to simply tell the person to just "Snap out of it!"

This kind of despair can easily lead to one of the more than 25,000 suicides this country suffers annually.

Perhaps the greatest sorrow of all is to see a person totally without hope. This is because, as long as there is a means to thwart one's troubles, hope remains. When a person has lost all hope, he has lost all faith that he has any control over his situation.

Our society's emphasis on "choice" and "control" has aggravated this problem terribly. We are told that we cannot have control if we cannot have an infinite universe of choices or avenues of action. Therefore, we have become conditioned to think that, if we lose options, we have lost control of our lives. And, if we lose control of our lives, those lives are not worth living. We come to think of ourselves as less than human if we cannot have total control all of the time.

This is nonsense. As long as we are living, we can seek to improve our situation. We can actually generate choices ourselves if we have been trained to possess initiative and imagination. To kill oneself, of course, is to really lose control of the situation.

Once again, dead people don't make choices.

Reason #6: Euthanasia is Not of God.

Intentionally causing one's own death, or suicide, is therefore equally as wrong as murder; such an action on the part of a person is to be considered as a rejection of God's sovereignty and loving plan.

                                                         The Vatican's "Declaration on Euthanasia."[11]

Just as God created us for missions that only He knows, He reserves for Himself the right to call us home. We are His finest creations, the only creations made in His image, and we have no right to destroy ourselves. The Fifth Commandment does not refer only to acts committed against others it prohibits the abuse and destruction of our own bodies and souls.

The idea of voluntarily undergoing suffering is entirely alien to the Modernist/Neoliberal mind. Once God has been eliminated from the equation of life, we feel no obligation to Him and have no patience for the burdens He may lay on us from time to time.

There are times in our lives when we must suffer, and times when we must surrender control to others. Christians realize that their sufferings are only a pale shadow of what Christ Himself endured for our redemption.

To reject the life that God gave us is also, in a larger sense, to reject Christ Himself.

Anti-Euthanasia Groups.

No matter how talented and experienced a person is, he will almost always accomplish more if he joins an organization with other people who share his goals.

The following pro-life organizations oppose euthanasia in the United States and possess resources and experience that any anti-euthanasia activist will find useful. Those parents whose children are afflicted with handicaps may also want to consult the extensive list of organizations that support children with birth defects that is contained in Chapter 39 of Volume II, "Birth Defect Support Groups."

American Life League (ALL)
Post Office Box 1350
Stafford, Virginia 22555
Telephone: (703) 659-4171
FAX: (703) 658-2586

ALL produces, gathers and disseminates pro-life activist and legislative information on a national scale with an excellent monthly magazine entitled ALL About Issues, and a biweekly legislative/activist newsletter entitled Communique. ALL lobbies vigorously for pro-life groups, and supports various methods of direct action for saving the preborn and the born who are threatened with death.

Americans United for Life (AUL)
343 South Dearborn Street, Suite 1804
Chicago, Illinois 60604
Telephone: (312) 786-9494

AUL is a public interest law firm defending anti-abortion, anti-infanticide, and anti-euthanasia activists. It also publishes AUL Studies in Law and Medicine, dealing with the legal and historical aspects of specific topics.

Center for the Rights of the Disabled
2319 18th Avenue South
Fargo, North Dakota 58103

Center for the Rights of the Terminally Ill
Post Office Box 54246
Hurst, Texas 76054
Telephone: (817) 656-5143.

Defends patient's rights to competent, compassionate and ethical medical care.

Christian Action Council (CAC)
101 West Broad Street, Suite 500
Falls Church, Virginia 22046

The primary goal of the CAC is to get people of all faiths involved in the struggle against abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. Its national headquarters has an excellent reading list of material on abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and the Christian response.

Christian Institute on Disability
Post Office Box 3333
Agoura, California 91301
Telephone: (818) 707-5664

The Christian Institute on Disability is an anti-euthanasia group offering Christian help to people who are disabled.

Citizens United Resisting Euthanasia (CURE)
812 Stephen Street
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia 2541
Telephone: (304) 258-LIFE

CURE educates on the threat of euthanasia and provides assistance to families of the severely disabled.

Human Life Center (HLC)
University of Steubenville
Steubenville, Ohio 43952
Telephone: (614) 282-9953

The HLC is an educational resource center with an extensive and up-to-date library of research materials and "Life Issue Files" drawn from various publications all over the world. The HLC is considered to be the national center of pro-life material on euthanasia, and offers a "Euthanasia Packet," which includes copies of materials that groups like the Hemlock Society and Americans Against Human Suffering use in their relentless drive to secure the 'right' to kill born human beings. The HLC also publishes Human Life Issues and the International Review (formerly the International Review of Natural Family Planning).

Human Life International (HLI)
7845-E Airpark Road
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20879
Telephone: (301) 670-7884

HLI fights abortion, the "right to die," and International Planned Parenthood on a global level. HLI has an expert staff of consultants, researchers, and advisors, including Mother Teresa of Calcutta. HLI publishes HLI Reports and HLI Special Reports on the status of the pro- and anti-life movements all over the world.

International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force (IAETF)
Post Office Box 760
Steubenville, Ohio 43952
Telephone: (614) 282-3810

Also: Post Office Box 224
Concord, California 94522
Telephone: (510) 689-0170

National Council of Catholic Women
1275 K Street, NW, Suite 975
Washington, DC 20005
Telephone: (202) 682-0334

Among its many other activities, the National Council of Catholic Women runs a respite program for the elderly, among many other activities.

National Legal Center for the Medically Dependent and Disabled
Post Office Box 441069
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Telephone: (317) 632-6245

This group provides support and training for lawyers who defend critically ill and disabled people against discrimination and publishes the quarterly Issues in Law and Medicine.

National Right to Life Committee (NRLC)

The primary purpose of NRLC is to sponsor community, legislative, and political action to oppose or change current and proposed liberal abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia laws. Local RTL chapters usually maintain excellent video and book libraries.

A list of the fifty state Right to Life affiliates and their addresses and phone numbers is shown in Chapter 20 of Volume I, "Pro-Life Organizations."

References: Introduction to Euthanasia.

[1] St. Augustine. The City of God. Translated by Henry Bettenson. Penguin Books, Book I, Chapter 20, page 31. Also quoted in ALL About Issues, June-July 1986, page 42.

[2] Albert Schweitzer, quoted in National Right to Life News, September 14, 1987, page 14.

[3] Cardinal John J. O'Connor. Quoted in the 1989 Oregon Right to Life convention program entitled "Euthanasia: Is Killing Compassionate?"

[4] Leslie Bond. "Girl Eyed as Potential Organ Donor Now Doing Fine." National Right to Life News, March 24, 1988, page 11.

[5] Front Line Updates. "Siamese Twin Scott Mueller Dies." National Right to Life News, May 2, 1985, page 4.

[6] Leslie Bond. "Woman Awakens From Coma After Court Reject's Husband's Request to Withdraw Treatment." National Right to Life News, October 9, 1986, pages 1 and 10.

[7] Leslie Bond. "Starvation Order Hastily Rescinded As Carrie Coons Awakens From So-Called "Irreversible" PVS." National Right to Life News, April 27, 1989, pages 5 and 7. Also see Nat Hentoff. "Not 'Hopeless Case' After All." National Right to Life News, May 11, 1989, page 4.

[8] Cybulski's case is described in "A Little Child Shall Lead Us." Presbyterians Pro-Life NEWS, Summer 1990, page 4.

[9] John Wolcott. "The Barbie Blodgett Story." Living World (publication of International Life Services, Inc.). Vol. 5, No. 2, pages 8 to 10. Also see David H. Andrusko. "Comatose Pregnant Woman Gives Birth, Then Comes Out of Coma." National Right to Life News, February 16, 1989, pages 1 and 10.

[10] Victor Hugo, History of a Crime (1877). Quoted in ALL About Issues, June-July 1990, page 38.

[11] The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. "Declaration on Euthanasia." Paragraph I3. May 5, 1980. 14 pages. Order for 20 cents from the Daughters of St. Paul, 50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02130.

Further Reading: Euthanasia (Introduction).

Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. Consistent Ethic of Life
Sheed & Ward, 115 East Armour Boulevard, Post Office Box 419492, Kansas City, Missouri 64141, telephone: 1-800-333-7373. 1988, 287 pages. This book consists of three parts: (1) The texts of 10 addresses by Cardinal Bernardin, the originator of the "seamless garment" theory. This series of addresses considers the topics of genetic engineering, abortion, modern welfare, the terminally ill, and capital punishment; (2) symposium papers by several authors on the "seamless garment," including renegade Jesuit Richard A. McCormick and Sidney Callahan; and (3) and the Cardinal's response to the symposium.

Biblical Reflections on Modern Medicine. 
This 12-page monthly magazine consists of detailed comments and essays on recent developments in the field of medicine from a Scriptural standpoint, with an emphasis on those procedures that threaten human life: Infanticide, abortion, and euthanasia. Write to Covenant Distributors, Box 4009, Martinez, Georgia 30917-4009.

James Bopp, Jr. Human Life and Health Care Ethics. 
National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund, 1985. 320 pages. Reviewed by Thomas Marzen on pages 6 and 11 of the October 24, 1985 National Right to Life News. A thorough review of the fundamental issues revolving about providing or withholding medical treatment.

Paul A. Bryne, M.D. Understanding Brain Death
Order from American Life League, Post Office Box 2250, Stafford, Virginia 22554. Is "brain death" really the death of the person? This booklet examines this critical question.

Daniel Callahan. Setting Limits: Medical Goals in an Aging Society
New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987. 256 pages. Reviewed by David H. Andrusko on pages 8 to 10 of the April 21, 1988 National Right to Life News and by Gary Crum, Ph.D., on page 38 of the January 1989 issue of ALL About Issues. This book, disturbing because it is written by the Director of the Hastings Center, contains all of the standard pro-euthanasia slogans and logic, and is particularly frightening as it originates with the director of the nation's most prestigious bioethical "think-tank."

Catholic Health Association. A Time To Be Old, a Time to Flourish: The Special Needs of the Elderly At-Risk
Report of the Catholic Health Association's Task Force on Long-Term Health Care. 1988, 109 pages. Order from the Catholic Health Association, 4455 Woodson Road, St. Louis, Missouri 63134. Telephone: (314) 427-2500.

Robert P. Craig, Carl L. Middleton, and Laurence J. O'Connell. Ethics Committees: A Practical Approach
The Catholic Health Association of the United States, 4455 Woodson Road, St. Louis, Missouri 63134-0889. 1986, 95 pages. Topics covered include the functions of Catholic institutional (hospital) ethics committees, their structure, membership, formation, religious perspectives on them, their history and role, and the roles of the five key players: The administrator, the medical staff, nursing staff, theologian/ethicist, and the bishop.

Joni Earckeson. When is it Right to Die?
Zondervan Press, 1992, 176 pages. Reviewed by William Griffin on page 8 of the November 8, 1992 issue of Catholic Twin Circle. The author, known to millions of Christians simply as "Joni," became quadriplegic 25 years ago as a result of a diving accident. Since then, she has made movies, painted hundreds of works of art by holding a brush in her mouth, and has become politically involved for the handicapped. In this book, she offers hope and practical advice for the seriously handicapped and addresses the moral, emotional, philosophical and spiritual aspects of the euthanasia issue. This book is written by one who knows and would be a good primer on the euthanasia issue.

Ethics & Medics. 
Subtitled A Catholic Perspective on Moral Issues in the Health and Life Sciences, this venerable monthly comments on all of the important developments in the life issues, to include animal rights and euthanasia. Subscribe by writing to The Pope John Center, 186 Forbes Road, Braintree, Massachusetts 02184, telephone: (617) 848-6965.

Greenhaven Press. Death and Dying: Opposing Viewpoints
Greenhaven Press Opposing Viewpoints Series, Post Office Box 289009, San Diego, California 92128-9009. 1987, 215 pages. Each section includes several essays by leading authorities on both sides of each issue. The questions asked are: "How Should One Cope With Death?;" "How Can Suicide Be Prevented?;" "Is Infant Euthanasia Ever Justified?;" "Should Euthanasia Be Allowed?;" and "Do the Dying Need Alternative Care?" Authors include Helga Kuhse, Melinda Delahoyde, Peter Singer, Charles Krauthammer, and David H. Andrusko. This topic is covered by a series of books, beginning with a basic set of essays entitled Sources and continuing with an additional and updated annual series of essays. A catalog is available from the above address and can be obtained by calling 1-(800) 231-5163.

Greenhaven Press. Euthanasia: Opposing Viewpoints
Greenhaven Press Opposing Viewpoints Series, Post Office Box 289009, San Diego, California 92128-9009. 1989, 231 pages. Five sections featuring essays written by leading activists on both sides of the euthanasia debate: "Is Euthanasia Ethical?;" "What Policy Should Guide Euthanasia?;" "What Criteria Should Influence Euthanasia Decisions?;" "Who Should Make the Euthanasia Decision?;" and "Is Infant Euthanasia Ethical?" This book provides excellent debating and research background for the anti-euthanasia activist. A catalog is available from the above address and can be obtained by calling 1-(800) 231-5163.

Germain Grisez and Joseph Boyle. Life and Death and Liberty and Justice
Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1979. Reviewed by Richard Stith on pages 185 to 189 of the Summer 1979 issue of the International Review of Natural Family Planning. An extraordinarily detailed and broad examination of all of the primary areas of contention in the euthanasia battle. Considered by most to be a 'must read' for serious anti-euthanasia activists.

Dennis J. Horan and David Mall (editors). Death, Dying, and Euthanasia
1980. 837 pages; Hardcover, softcover. Order from Kairos Books, Department 122, Post Office Box 708, Libertyville, Illinois 60048.

The Human Life Review. 
This is a superbly presented scholarly journal modeled after the most distinguished psychobiology periodicals, and is published by the Human Life Foundation. It is mailed quarterly, and contains about 150 pages of essays by the best-known pro-life authors in the world, primarily on the legal and sociological aspects of abortion and its loathsome offspring, infanticide and euthanasia. One of the favorite topics of the authors is the continued lack of decisive action by the Catholic Church and other institutions. This excellent chronicle of the American Holocaust and its many effects is must reading for the serious pro-life activist. The nation's top conservative writers examine the anti-life philosophy in clinical and brilliant detail with their scholarly and insightful articles. Most back issues are available. Back issues, both bound and unbound, are available from: Editorial Office, 150 East 35th Street, Room 840, New York, New York 10016. Telephone: (212) 685-5210, FAX: (212) 696-0309.

Jack Kevorkian. Prescription: Medicide: The Goodness of Planned Death
Prometheus Books, 59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, New York 14228. 1991, 262 pages. Jack ("The Dripper") Kevorkian gives us some of his revolutionary ideas in the area of human beings putting other human beings to death. He primarily addresses the suitability of those condemned to death row as "organ farms," organ harvesting, and medical experimentation. Kevorkian refers to any limits on his activities as "stone-age," and rejects out of hand any kind of Christian morality whatever. This is a fascinating book for anyone who wants the goals of the euthanasia movement clearly outlined, because Kevorkian seems to be the only person on the pro-euthanasia side who is honest enough to speak of them truthfully.

Eike-Henner W. Kluge. The Practice of Death
London: Yale University Press. 1975, 250 pages. The author ties together in a general manner the philosophy and tactics of all of the pro-death movements: Abortion, infanticide, suicide, euthanasia, and 'senicide.' Although the book is nearly twenty years old, it is still relevant today.

C. Everett Koop, M.D., and Timothy Johnson, M.D. Let's Talk: An Honest Conversation on Critical Issues
Zondervan Press, 1992, 144 pages. Reviewed by William Griffin on page 8 of the November 8, 1992 issue of Catholic Twin Circle. A former Surgeon General of the United States and ABC-TV's medical editor discuss the critical issues of abortion, euthanasia, AIDS, and health care. Both writers are Christians who disagree on some of the issues, and this book, which is a published version of their informal debates, helps Christians examine some of the more arcane and complicated aspects of the above issues.

Gerald A. Larue. Euthanasia and Religion: A Survey of the Attitudes of World Religions and the Right-to-Die
Los Angeles: Hemlock Society, 160 pages, 1985. Using church and other documents, the author describes the positions on euthanasia held by 29 major religious denominations. There is special emphasis on the positions of the Jews, Roman Catholics, and Greek Orthodox on this subject.

Carol Levine (Editor). Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Bio-Ethical Issues
Dushkin Publishing Group, Inc., Guilford, Connecticut. 1984, 297 pages. Leading thinkers on both sides of bioethical issues express their opinions in scholarly essays on subjects including abortion, in-vitro fertilization, surrogate motherhood, involuntary sterilization of the retarded, informed consent, active euthanasia, withholding treatment from handicapped newborns, suicide, the insanity defense, animal experimentation, prisoners volunteering for research, justifiable deception in research, organ harvesting from the dead, and genetic engineering. A good primer on the bioethical issues.

Father Paul Marx, OSB. And Now ... Euthanasia (second revised edition). 
Human Life International, 7845-E Airpark Road, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20879. Telephone: (301) 670-7884. 1985, 106 pages. This little book, directed at the general reader, offers an up-to-date assessment of the euthanasia situation in the United States and other countries. The basic history of euthanasia, the tactics of the pro-killing people, and the role of the courts are examined. Essential basic reading for the beginning anti-euthanasia activist.

James J. Mulligan. Choose Life
The Pope John XXIII Medical-Moral Research & Education Center, Braintree, Massachusetts 02184. 1991, 370 pages. This unusual book consists of a series of short stories that describe in layman's terms the philosophical debates surrounding bioethical issues of our time. The stories do not focus as much on specific issues as they do on the general concepts surrounding biomedical ethics. A good primer for those researching and pondering general concepts regarding abortion and euthanasia.

National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the United States Catholic Conference. Pastoral Letters of the United States Catholic Bishops
Five volumes, 2,630 pages.
Volume I: 1792-1940. Publication Number 880, 480 pages. Covers the Age of John Carroll (1792-1828), the Provincial Councils (1829-1849), the Plenary Councils (1852-1884), and between the World Wars (1919-1940). Some of the pastoral letters include the 1932 Resolution on Indecent Literature and the 1939 Statement on Peace and War.
Volume II: 1941-1961. Publication Number 885, 270 pages. Includes statements on a good peace, war and peace, secularism, compulsory military service, the Christian family, the child, persecution behind the Iron Curtain, censorship, the secular press, and bigotry.
Volume III: 1962-1974. Publication Number 870, 500 pages. Includes statements on the government and birth control, clerical celibacy, abortion, human life, birth control laws, population and the American future, and the Human Life Amendment.
Volume IV: 1975-1983. Publication Number 875, 605 pages. Statements include the Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities and resolutions on abortion and human sexuality.
Volume V: 1983-1988. Publication Number 200-4, 775 pages. Statements include the Updated Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities and resolutions on abortion and school-based clinics.
All volumes may be ordered from the Office of Publishing Services, United States Catholic Conference, 1312 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005.

David N. O'Steen, Ph.D. "Euthanasia: Modern America's Rendezvous with Death." 
This booklet examines the role of the media and the court system in advancing the cause of euthanasia in this country, and shows what pro-lifers can do to stop the tide of legal killing that looms just ahead. Booklets are free for one copy or 35 cents for multiple copies from: National Right to Life Committee Educational Trust Fund, 419 7th Street NW, Suite 500,

Professor Charles E. Rice. 50 Questions on Abortion, Euthanasia, and Related Issues
Order from: Life Issues Bookshelf, Sun Life, Thaxton, Virginia 24174, telephone: (703) 586-4898. This book examines the tactics and approaches used by the pro-life movement to fight abortion and euthanasia, and the various sources and causes of conflict between individuals and organizations within the Movement. Every activist and pro-life group should use this book as an aid to examining their attitudes toward the issues and toward their fellow activists.

Roman Catholic Church, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Declaration on Euthanasia, 1980, contained in Contemporary Catholic Social Teaching, number 704-9). 
This and other encyclicals that are landmarks in Catholic social teaching are available from the Daughters of St. Paul, 50 St. Paul Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02130, telephone: (617) 522-8911, and the United States Catholic Conference Publishing Service, 3211 Fourth Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20017-1194, telephone: 1-800-541-3090.

A.R. Saqueton, M.D. In Defense of Life
ARS Publishing Company, 1981. 232 pages. Reviewed by Felicia Goeken on page 9 of the May 10, 1982 issue of National Right to Life News and page 11 of the July 8, 1982 issue of the same publication. The 'Right to Die,' Living Wills, terminal conditions, and many other aspects of euthanasia are contained in this primer-type work.

Earl Shelp. Born to Die?
New York: Free Press, 1986. 206 pages. A candid endorsement of euthanasia and infanticide for all the usual reasons, including 'quality of life' and cost containment. Reviewed by Rosemary Bottcher on pages 5 and 6 of the October 23, 1986 issue of National Right to Life News.

Beth Spring and Ed Larson. Euthanasia: Spiritual, Medical & Legal Issues in Terminal Health Care
Multnomah Press, 10209 SE Division Street, Portland, Oregon 97226. 1988, 220 pages. A very good general and basic primer on the various issues surrounding a debate that is becoming more and more intense. The book covers the medical realities of aging; euthanasia and the law; the leading views of prominent ethicists and theologians; the traditional and current Christian perspectives and their logic and roots; living wills; and hospice care. The book also suggests a detailed action plan in Christian response to the euthanasia threat.

United States Government. Report of the Commission on the Evaluation of Pain
The assessment of pain to determine eligibility and disability payments under Titles 2 and 16 of the Social Security Act, the definition of pain, and the major concerns regarding acute and chronic pain. Serial Number 017-070-00427-0, 1987, 220 pages. Order by mail from Superintendent of Documents, United States Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, or by telephone from (202) 783-3238.

Robert N. Wennberg. Terminal Choices: Euthanasia, Suicide, and the Right to Die
William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 255 Jefferson Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503. 1989, 250 pages. This book covers a lot of ground in moderate depth, including the basics of euthanasia in general, a definition and description of the issues surrounding self-euthanasia (suicide), the morality of suicide, voluntary active euthanasia, passive euthanasia, the refusal of life-sustaining treatment, the permanently unconscious patient, and the issues surrounding the legalization of active euthanasia.

© American Life League BBS — 1-703-659-7111

This is a chapter of the Pro-Life Activist’s Encyclopedia published by American Life League.