The day after the government unveiled the draft of their euthanasia bill, a Toronto Sun poll ask readers, “Do you think the Federal Government’s proposed doctor-assisted death law is too restrictive?” Too restrictive? How so? What is, as columnist Andrew Coyne puts it, the Left's "chief complaint? That it does not include children and the mentally incompetent.”
The Toronto Sun’s poll question was an example of carefully parsed verbiage meant to lead readers in a very specific direction. According to an old adage whoever frames a debate wins the debate. That’s why we’re called “anti-abortion” and “anti-choice” rather than “pro-life” – the other side wants to frame us as obstructionists and troublemakers. And that’s why the Sun wants this debate to be about whether the proposed law is “too restrictive.” It’s an attempt to frame the choice so it will be between going with the Liberal legislation as is, or going further.
Neither option is acceptable and that’s not the debate that needs to be had. What we have to talk about is how very radical this bill is. That’s the word we need to use again and again, with maybe a crazy thrown in here and there. It is radical to:
- assert some lives aren’t worth living.
- require doctors become killers (either doing it themselves, or finding someone who will – there is no conscience protection in this bill).
- encourage suicide rather than prevent it.
- portray death as a medical treatment, not a tragedy.
- craft a culture in which parents who require care from their children could now be viewed as selfish compared to other aged parents who took the “selfless” option of killing themselves.
- remove the firm anchor that all lives are worth living and replace it with a standard that isn’t firm and won’t anchor anything – by what standard can we ensure this suicide option won’t be extended and extended and extended?
The Devil wants this discussion to be about whether this bill is “too restrictive.” As God’s people we need to shift the discussion to how devastating this bill is, how unloving, how devaluing, how arbitrary, how very radical the notion that some lives are not worth living.
A word on winsomeness: we don’t need to scream these words. When we call it radical, we don't need it to come out as some sort of screed...though it would also be strange to talk about a life and death issue completely dispassionately. Thus to frame the debate properly we need to speak with passion, and also self-control. We need to present the choice as it really is, between going with this radical legislation, or returning to the sanity of acknowledging all life as precious. That's the real debate. We need to make sure it continues to happen.