What Covid-19 has revealed about assisted suicide and euthanasia

What Covid-19 has revealed about assisted suicide and euthanasia

There has not been, in living memory, more focus on healthcare, the vital role of doctors, the sacrifices made by nurses, and the wonderful efforts of everyone involved in the sector. Amid the coronavirus crisis, daily heroism, the scale of human loss, and the awful scenes in hospitals underline what is important – and what is not.

It will surprise some that in the Netherlands, the only dedicated clinic providing euthanasia and assisted suicide has closed. Euthanasia Expertise Centre (formerly known as End of Life Clinic) has suspended all euthanasia procedures…

Similarly, in Belgium, Jacqueline Herremans, a member of the federal commission reviewing euthanasia, has noted that there are few resources and even fewer doctors available for euthanasia at the moment: ‘The most important thing right now is that we fight the coronavirus…’

In Canada, authorities are also shutting down services….

To shut down euthanasia clinics and services because of the danger of infection from Covid-19 means that those who perform euthanasia no longer believe their services are necessary; otherwise, many of them would brave the risk and despatch suffering patients…

Covid-19 brings the reality of death, the necessity of caring for others and being cared for by others, into our living rooms, making the preciousness of all lives and the tragedy of all deaths real. We see the humanity of the elderly and frail; no longer are they burdens to be despatched from this world, but victims of horrifying disease that all are invested in fighting…

In a few months we may return to normal, in which case euthanasia clinics will return to granting people’s wishes to no longer be, to escape this life, or to be in control of their deaths. Perhaps, though, we can remember this time when we made huge sacrifices to preserve every life, no matter how frail and vulnerable. We can remember this time when euthanasia no longer seemed necessary.

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