Another week … another example of how physician-assisted suicide targets the vulnerable. This time: Asperger’s patients.
In 2010, 38-year-old Tine Nys was one of approximately 1,000 people euthanized in Belgium. Nys was not suffering from a terminal illness. In fact, she wasn’t sick at all.
As I’ve mentioned before on BreakPoint, despite how it’s sold around the world, inevitable death isn’t a requirement for euthanasia in Belgium. The standard for eligibility is “unbearable and untreatable suffering,” which has come to include psychological suffering. Between 2005 and 2014, 124 people diagnosed with a “mental and/or behavioral disorder” were euthanized in Belgium. These included conditions such as depression and dementia.
But in Nys’ case, it’s wasn’t even clear she was “suffering” at all, much less in an “unbearable and untreatable” sense. Nys had been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism.
Asperger’s is characterized by, among other things, difficulty in social situations and restricted interests. It’s also characterized by “remarkable focus and persistence,” “attention to detail,” and an aptitude for recognizing patterns.
If that doesn’t sound especially unbearable, you’re correct. And many people agree. Venture capitalist Peter Thiel has called Asperger’s a possible “big advantage” in places like Silicon Valley. In fact, the person who helped me write this commentary will tell you that he displays more than a few Asperger’s characteristics, and he and I both will tell you that those characteristics help him do the amazing job he does.
If all that was “wrong” with Nys was Asperger’s, then even under Belgium’s absurdly lax standards, her request for euthanasia should not have been approved. And so her family filed a criminal complaint against the doctors who approved her request.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera