Regarding euthanasia, C. Everett Koop, M.D., the former
Surgeon General of the United States says:

"... we must be wary of those who are too willing to end the lives of the elderly and the ill. If we ever decide that a poor quality of life justifies ending that life, we have taken a step down a slippery slope that places all of us in danger. There is a difference between allowing nature to take its course and actively assisting death. The call for euthanasia surfaces in our society periodically, as it is doing now under the guise of "death with dignity" or assisted suicide. Euthanasia is a concept, it seems to me, that is in direct conflict with a religious and ethical tradition in which the human race is presented with " a blessing and a curse, life and death," and we are instructed '...therefore, to choose life." I believe 'euthanasia' lies outside the commonly held life-centered values of the West and cannot be allowed without incurring great social and personal tragedy. This is not merely an intellectual conundrum. This issue involves actual human beings at risk..."

"While the terror of state-sponsored euthanasia may never grip America as it once did Germany, it is possible that the terror of the euthanasia ethic - tolerated by medicine and an indifferent public and practiced by a few physicians - may grip many invisible and vulnerable Americans. Over fifty years ago, German doctors and courts collaborated to identify millions of people who were labeled 'devoid of value'. Some Americans are labeled the same today: members of a racial or ethnic 'underclass', a sidewalk screamer ... an illegal alien ... a nursing home resident with Alzheimer's disease ... an abandoned migrant worker ... or anyone too old or weak or poor to help himself or herself. For two millennia the Hippocratic tradition has stood for the 'sanctity' of human life. We can alleviate the unbearable in life better than ever before. We can do that and not eliminate life itself. As I have said many times, medicine cannot be both our healer and our killer."

The above quotation is taken from the book KOOP, The Memoirs of America's Family Doctor by C. Everett Koop, M.D., Random House, 1991.

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