The Grim Reapers of Virginia’s General Assembly

by Kerry Dougherty

When she was hospitalized in September 1998, my brother and I had a somber discussion with her physician. We asked how long our mother – who was clearly failing – would live.

“How long is a piece of string?” the doctor shrugged.

She died four days later.

I’ve been thinking about my mother, her suffering and her last years spent under a death sentence since I learned that Virginia Democrats are again pushing an assisted suicide law. Unlike earlier bills that died in committee, this one, introduced by Sen. Ghazala Hashmi, cleared the Senate’s health subcommittee, a first step toward becoming law.

This measure – SB280 – would allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication to patients who are determined to be terminally ill with less than six months to live.

As if that’s an exact science.

To bolster their case, Democrats enlisted the help of Rep. Jennifer Wexton, who is suffering from a form of Parkinson’s Disease, to speak on behalf of the bill. The former state senator said she believes patients should be able to decide when to die.

Wexton’s situation is sad. Sadder still is watching her party exploit her condition to push this macabre measure.

Don’t be fooled. This is just the first step. The camel’s nose under the tent.

For a cautionary tale of what happens once a country embraces suicide instead of regarding it as a tragedy, look to our neighbors to the north.

In 2016, Canada passed the Medical Assistance In Dying Act (MAID), supposedly a compassionate measure that would allow terminally ill patients whose “natural death was foreseeable” to end their lives with the help of their doctors.

In the ensuing eight years the law has been modified and expanded a number of times. No longer does a doctor make the determination that a patient is eligible to kill him or herself; a nurse practitioner can do so. The requirement that natural death must be foreseeable has been struck, and shortly, mental illness will be added to the list of maladies that can end a life. (Suicide is so much less expensive than expanding mental health care.) There is no longer a waiting period. Anyone seeking assisted suicide can die almost immediately.

The Canadian government is considering a proposal to expand the right to suicide to “mature minors” without the consent of their parents. A new poll shows that 28% of Canadians think it is acceptable for someone to want to commit suicide because of homelessness and 20% believe any person for any reason should be able to legally kill themselves.

Doctor-assisted suicides now account for 4.1% of all deaths in Canada.

Even Canadians who once favored MAID are becoming squeamish. Take Katherine Brodsky, for instance, writing this month in Newsweek:

A confession: Initially, I welcomed the idea of assisted dying, believing it could be a humane choice for those at the late stages of irreversible illnesses to make choices on their own behalf. However, my growing concern lies in the application of MAID by the Canadian government.

I am now skeptical about the true autonomy of individuals opting for assisted death, especially in a country with socialized health care. The risk of medical practitioners recommending MAID as a cost-cutting measure to alleviate strain on the health care system is unsettling, as suggested by a 2020 analysis estimating potential annual savings of save $66 million annually in health care costs.

Indeed, far from being a humane tool rarely used, in Canada the right to die has swiftly moved from granting citizens a right to die to burdening them with a duty to die. There are numerous cases that have been documented of medical professionals urging patients to take their own lives.

Consider the numbers: in 2016, there were 1,000 assisted suicides; in 2020 there were 2,838. In 2022, 13,241 Canadians went to their deaths with the help of Canada’s medical community.

Make no mistake, this is coming to the U.S. unless Americans firmly reject every attempt to cheapen life.

Sadly, the Democrat party – from its abortion enthusiasts who want the right to abort viable babies to ghouls like former Gov. Ralph Northam who believe parents of babies born alive should decide if their offspring get to live or die – is becoming a death cult.

If this bill becomes law it is only a first step. Richmond’s grim reapers won’t stop with assisted suicide for patients facing imminent death; soon there will be a duty to die when any elderly or infirm person is deemed a burden on their family.

You’ve been warned.

Republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed and Unedited.