Pro-Life advocates are rightly celebrating the current victories and anticipating future wins for preborn children in Texas and across the nation. Every Life saved from abortion deserves this celebration. Meanwhile, however, a different alarming threat to Life is stealthily growing across the globe, and we must not ignore this.
Switzerland has recently given legal approval to a new technology meant to facilitate suicide. They are known as “Sarco machines,” a sickeningly punny name that is actually short for sarcophagus—a stone coffin. These death traps are futuristic-looking capsules designed to cause painless, near-immediate death for the user. What is most horrifying about these machines, besides the mere fact that their purpose is to kill, is that they are crafted so that the user can die alone, without any help from a physician.
“We want to remove any kind of psychiatric review from the process and allow the individual to control the method themselves,” inventor of the capsule Philip Nitschke told SwissInfo. People would be given access to Sarco after completing just a single online evaluation.
This isn’t physician-assisted suicide (PAS), which has traditionally been understood as a method by which a doctor assists a patient who wants to die by prescribing a lethal medication. Rather, these machines enable suicide at anytime, anywhere, and at the push of a button.
This normalization of suicide isn’t new, especially in Europe. The Netherlands allows assisted suicide for children as young as 12 who have, “unbearable suffering with no prospect of improvement,” and even allows the killing of severely ill newborns. Belgium allows PAS for patients struggling with mental illness. Euthanasia is also legal in Luxembourg, and, as of this year, Spain. Across the globe, demand for legal euthanasia is only growing.
Physician-assisted suicide has already been made legal in America—specifically in California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. The movement to empower doctors to take the lives of their patients is growing. Now, with the new developments in Switzerland, we can clearly see just how far this lethal pathway leads.
Proponents of the culture of death tell vulnerable people that the value of Life is solely a measure of happiness and health. Abortion advocates often justify the killing of preborn children by promoting similar arguments: If your baby is born with a disability, her Life won’t be worth living; if she will be born into a difficult financial situation, death will ensure she doesn’t have to endure that hardship. In the same way, anti-Lifers tell vulnerable patients that if they are facing physical or even mental anguish, ending their Life will be better.
None of these ever have to be the case. Life is inherently valuable, and any physical or mental hardship does not take away from that value. Physician-assisted suicide is never the right option for the same reason that any suicide is never a good option: They seek to solve a measurable problem by taking away a Life of immeasurable worth.
Until recently, even anti-Life people would have agreed that that suicide due to mental anguish should be actively discouraged. The approval of Sarco machines in Switzerland is a clear step towards the horrifying end, the normalization of all suicide. And unless something is done to stop this, and to promote a culture of Life across the globe, Sarco-like technology will only become more prevalent.
As preparations begin for the 88th Legislature in Texas, as we handle the enforcement of the Texas Heartbeat Act to protect preborn children, and as the nation finally considers overturning Roe v. Wade, many Pro-Life advocates will have their attention turned solely toward preborn children. However, we cannot let ourselves forget about other technological and social threats to all Life. What is happening in Switzerland will continue to devalue the gift of Life unless brave Pro-Lifers take a stand.