At the end of January 2012, PACE passed a resolution (No. 1859) that made a strong statement against euthanasia. The resolution was issued under the title “Protecting human rights and dignity by taking into account previously expressed wishes of patients.” Although PACE has no legislative authority, the resolution may prove to be a strong tool for Europe’s pro-Life advocates to resist further euthanasia acceptance such as Holland and Belgium have done.
The PACE resolution states, in part: “Euthanasia, in the sense of the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his alleged benefit, must always be prohibited.” Later in the document they stated that “surrogate decisions that rely on general value judgements present in society should not be admissible and, in case of doubt, the decision must always be pro-life and the prolongation of life.” [My emphasis added.]
We must not forget Europe’s sad experience with euthanasia dating back seventy years. The Nazi’s euthanasia programme killed thousands of mentally and physically handicapped Germans. It paved the way for the final solution. There are still people alive who remember those dark and terrible years. Was it perhaps a collective cultural memory that inadvertently helped fuel the PACE resolution? After all, it would be a terrible thing to discover that people learned nothing from history! Whatever the underlying motivation, Europe’s disabled and incurably ill citizens should be grateful for this timely document from such a prestigious Assembly.
If society does not protect and cherish every life then ultimately no life will be guaranteed protection. Look what happened with widespread abortion acceptance over the past forty years. It resulted in a holocaust of unprecedented proportions!