In December, an Austrian federal court overturned legal provisions which outlawed euthanasia. The court said that the previous legal provision “violates the right of self-determination,” and that the right to self-determination “includes the right to a dignified death, and also the right of a person who has decided of their own free will to kill himself or herself to get help in doing so from another person.” While it remains unclear what exactly will be allowed by this ruling, it opens the door to legalized euthanasia.
Austria joins other countries, including the Netherlands, which have legalized euthanasia. The Austrian court said legislators will have to take measures to prevent abuse and ensure that “the person affected does not take the decision to kill themselves under the influence of third parties.” Such assurances to limit euthanasia ring hollow, however. Since November, the Netherlands now allow doctors with dementia patients to put sedatives into their food or drink if there are concerns that they will become “disturbed, agitated, or aggressive,” while administering the lethal injection. The new code continues: “it is not necessary for the doctor to agree with the patient the time or manner in which euthanasia will be given.”
Pandemics are deadly contagions that plague humanity. They remind us of our mortality and that death is not ultimately under our control. Yet, a greater danger does not come from a disease, but from humanity’s own distortion of truth, life, and freedom. Once that begins to spread, what vaccine will stop it?