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April 19, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – New Mexico has become the latest state to legalize assisted suicide, with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signing the Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act. The bill is named for a New Mexico judge who had long lobbied for assisted suicide legalization before dying of cancer in 2018.

Oregon was the first state to legalize assisted suicide with the so-called Death with Dignity Act in 1994 (it took effect in 1997); Washington followed in 2008, Vermont in 2013, and then a seeming rush toward legalization. California legalized assisted suicide in 2015; Colorado and the District of Columbia in 2016; Hawaii in 2018; Maine and New Jersey in 2019. Montana’s Supreme Court previously ruled that a “right to die” existed in 2009. 

And now New Mexico, where assisted suicide for terminally ill patients with six months or less to live will be able to apply for poison to end their lives as of June 18, 2021.

The politicians are insisting, as they always do, that this new right to suicide is accompanied by a phalanx of safeguards. Two doctors must agree on the six-month diagnosis; the person applying for suicide must be mentally competent and must pass a test proving it; there is a 48-hour waiting period to ensure that they are certain about the decision; they must take the poison themselves.

But wherever assisted suicide is legalized, the number of people requesting death rapidly increases and the categories of those eligible inevitably expand. Canada’s flimsy safeguards lasted scarcely five years before new legislation endorsing suicide for those with mental illnesses and introducing same-day suicide provisions arrived. By December 31, 2019 — less than four years after legalization — over 13,000 people had already killed themselves with government support. In Oregon, too, the number of people killing themselves had risen steadily since legalization.

In the Netherlands, government-provided suicide services have expanded to the point that those struggling with mental illness, alcoholism, or loneliness have opted to kill themselves, and death vans have been dispatched to the homes of patients to carry out the lethal injections. In 2004, the Groningen Policy allowed for euthanizing certain severely disabled infants; last year, the Dutch government started the process of legalizing euthanasia for children between the ages of one and 12. 

Suicide activists like to claim that highlighting the inevitable expansion of euthanasia regimes is a slippery slope fallacy, but predictions cease to become fallacious when accompanied by a host of tragic case studies. Those advocating legalization have no use for safeguards. They see the right to suicide as an absolute one, and while willing to accept incremental steps in that direction, are quite happy to abandon guardrails protecting the young, disabled, and mentally ill the moment an opportunity to expand suicide and euthanasia presents itself.

Suicide activists pretend that this is the last essential right of autonomy and self-determination. In reality, it is the government deciding who is valuable enough to warrant suicide prevention, and who is worthless enough to warrant suicide assistance. This is not about choice — the government decides who gets to access this so-called service, and when they do so, they draw a line through society. On one hand, there are those who have lives deemed valuable enough that it is illegal for them to kill themselves. 

On the other side are those whom the government has deemed so worthless that they are not only allowed to commit suicide, but the government will facilitate the lethal injection and fund the entire process. In many places, a state-funded doctor will even sterilize the needle before slipping into your veins to inject the poison that will end your life. You have decided your life is not worth living; they have agreed with you. This is not choice. This is selection. Shame on New Mexico.

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.