The United States of America, like it or not, is fast becoming a culture of death.  Consider the following:  if a woman becomes pregnant and after, let us say, six months wishes to terminate her pregnancy, there are physicians who will readily accommodate her.  George R. Tiller, right, of Wichita, Kansas, is a stark example of a hired killer with a medical license. For an agreed price, he will snuff out the life of a viable fetus.

A second example:  if a patient, who happens to reside in the State of Oregon, has contracted "an incurable and irreversible disease that has been medically confirmed and will, within reasonable medical judgment, produce death within six months," the attending physician may assist him in the facilitation of his death.  Yet, please note, that a life expectancy of six months has often been known to stretch into a number of years with little or no loss in the quality of life, notwithstanding "reasonable medical judgment" having been voiced to the contrary.

I am not unaware of the possibility of mitigating circumstances in these cases. A pregnancy can result from rape or incest, plus carrying a pregnancy to term can have the effect of significantly reducing the quality of life for all the members of the family involved. Likewise, in the face of a confirmed diagnosis of Lou Gehrig's or Alzheimer's disease, a patient and his family may be looking at not only untold physical and emotional horrors, but also financial ruin as well.  The arguments for terminating a life under any of these circumstances can be sobering and compelling.  A decision to die can be as courageous as one to live.  It is disingenuous to present the alternatives as if there are not terrible moral ambiguities at play.

But, having said this, it is of paramount concern to me that abortion has become an all-too-easy option for terminating an "inconvenient" pregnancy.  There were those who argued before Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion would become a belated means of birth control, and it has.  In the same manner, I wonder whether Oregon's "death with dignity" statute has not also opened the door to a litany of future abuses.  If the pivotal principle is that one can, in consultation with his physician, choose to terminate life, then who is to say that reasons other than an unwanted pregnancy or an incurable and irreversible disease will not be found for doing so?  Would we really be surprised to hear someone argue, "I have carefully examined my life of 60 years, and I have loathed every moment of it.  I do not wish to continue it, and I have the right to a physician who will assist me in the facilitation of my demise"?

When I speak of the "culture of death," however, I am not referring simply to how a person views her own life or one that she is carrying.  The issue has never been this morally insular, although advocates for abortion and physician-assisted suicide would contend otherwise.  What we also must keep in mind is how such policies influence the way in which we view the lives of those external to us.  Is a patient who is suffering from terminal dementia, and is fast approaching a vegetative state, deserving of the same dignity and respect as one who is lucid and cognizant of his situation?  If so, why?  To respond that the patient is "a human being" begs the question when the lives of human beings are precisely what is at issue.   Right?

Interestingly enough, in Albert Lea, Minnesota, two teenage girls who worked at a nursing home were charged Monday, December 4, 2008, with abuse. They are accused of taunting, spitting on and groping the breasts and/or genitals of residents at the home who suffered from Alzheimer's disease.  19-year old Brianna Broitzman and 18-year old Ashton Larson, pictured on the right and left respectively, allegedly laughed as they engaged in these activities, forcing those under their care to scream.  Six other teens who worked with them were also charged with failing to report the incidents.

Freeborn County Attorney, Craig Nelson, informed the Star Tribune of Minneapolis that Broitzman and Larson "most likely will face suspended jail sentences and probation . . . ."  This prosecutor adds insult to injury.  But why, one might ask in defense of the judicial system, should the punishment of these activities involve jail time, when the so-called victims of the incidents are people who have outlived their usefulness anyway?  How much dignity and respect, after all, should be accorded to those who can no longer reason or function?

I defy anyone, especially so-called "secular progressives," to feign shock and dismay over this story.  Broitzman and Larson probably attended schools where they were taught that human life is a product of chance and algorithmic development and that it has no more claim to worth than that of a lizard or roach.  Like others, they were no doubt taught that life in the womb can be terminated at a woman's discretion (i.e., for inconvenience, among other reasons) and that "enlightened" policies, such as the one in Oregon, provide for ending life when circumstances become hopeless.  Now are we really supposed to be horrified when these young women disrespect Alzheimer's patients, and when a county attorney prosecutes them with a wink and a nod?  Give me a break!  The entire scenario amounts to little more than disrespect for human life by those with a fascist mentality who, ironically enough, tout themselves as the liberal and free-thinking masters of us all.

American culture is degenerating to barbarism.  Instead of cowering in fear of the judgment that fatuous newspapers and loud-mouthed media personalities, amoral elected officials, misguided clerics, and idiotic professors may pronounce upon us, it is time for mainstream Americans to begin standing up and making demands.  If American culture is re-invented, I certainly do not trust these fools to do it.  Do you?

December 6, 2008