DAUGHTER

The song by the same name was performed by Pearl Jam and is about a child with a disability.  Usually my articles and the titles of the songs by the same name have nothing in common, but this one… If you follow the news like me you may be aware of the Bonnie Liltz story.  Actually, the real victim of this story is not Bonnie but her late daughter, Courtney. You see Courtney was adopted by Bonnie at the age of 2.  Courtney had cerebral palsy and had to have 24-hour care.  However, the young woman was thriving. Speaking, when doctors said she wouldn’t, feeding herself, and using a computer. According to Bonnie Liltz, “she was a happy girl”1.

On May 27, 2015, after twenty plus years of caring for Courtney, Bonnie decided Courtney’s life must end.  She came to this conclusion because she, Bonnie, was battling cancer and other health issues.  Courtney had no say-so in the matter.  Bonnie mixed a cocktail of several drugs and fed it to her daughter, Courtney. She then attempted to take her own life, but was unsuccessful.

Bonnie Liltz, who is still ill, and very much alive is upset because the Illinois courts think she should—I don’t know—go to jail for murdering her daughter.2 You see Bonnie doesn’t want to go to jail.  She is now asking for “mercy” from Bruce Rauner, the governor of Illinois.  It also appears that because Bonnie is so ill the state jail just can’t seem to take good care of her.  Hmmm. Now let’s think back.  Isn’t it ironic that it was for this same reason that Bonnie decided to kill Courtney? Yes, you read that right. Bonnie worried that she couldn’t care for Courtney if she was too ill and she didn’t want to subject Courtney to state care because it wasn’t adequate—so, she killed her out of “mercy and love”. That’s amazing.

Also amazing is how many times Bonnie Liltz refers to God and the “gift” she received from Him when she adopted Courtney, and how “all life is precious”.  Really, wow!  So being Courtney was a gift from God how does Bonnie reconcile that she, not God, would decide to snuff out that gift?  And now that she is the ill one who cannot receive individualized care, it becomes a whole different story?

Bonnie, who is currently out on bond, didn’t like state sponsored jail life and is now asking for clemency to spare her from the horrors of it.  The Illinois Department of Corrections (state) just can’t provide the (individual) healthcare that Bonnie is accustomed to. You know, eating what she wants, taking her medications, and good quality physical and mental care.  She lost 14 pounds in jail! This is the same argument she made for taking Courtney’s life.  The state could not take care of her in the same manner that she, an individual citizen, could.

So far the courts are having none of it. She was sentenced to 4 years for involuntary manslaughter, which is a far lighter sentence then the one she bestowed upon her daughter.  It’s becoming the norm for judges to sentence killers of the innocent to lesser stints in jail and it’s wrong.  There is that slippery slope that pro-life advocates keep spotlighting. If abortion is legal, why stop at the fetus just before it’s born? Why not after birth and maybe up to say, 2 years old or older? And what about the disabled? That leads to the elderly. We’ve already started legalizing suicide for the sick, so why stop there?  You know, all in the name of “compassion”.

Thanks to abortion (the proverbial foot in the door), we are seeing this happen all too frequently. Mothers who no longer want to care for their child will kill them, out of mercy of course, and judges pass on lenient sentences. The child doesn’t have to be ill, just inconvenient. Some cases are more heinous than others, yet it’s difficult for Americans to wrap their heads around a mother who can kill her own child. This must stop or it will end with infanticide and worse.

Christians are taught that all life is precious from womb to the tomb. We are against capital punishment as well. It’s a hard sell when you look at some of these horrific serial offenders.  God teaches us that everyone can change. We must forgive.  St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans 12:19 that vengeance belongs only with God.  However, God never said there should be no justice for the innocent and oppressed.  In fact that very thing is mentioned quite often in the Bible.  Jesus summed it all up in one sentence: love your neighbor as yourself. If you follow that golden rule you’ll never go wrong.

Back to Bonnie Liltz.  I’m sure Bonnie was a selfless mother at one time.  She cared for her disabled daughter for over 20 years. Being a mom is a thankless job on a good day. One may have looked at her and thought her a saint at one time. I agree with her thinking that the state could never take care of Courtney like she did. She was worried about her daughter and what would become of her once she was too ill or dead.  However, her end game was all wrong.

It’s very easy to feel compassion for a mother with a very ill child. How can that be murder? The mother thought the best place for her daughter was with God in Heaven. She didn’t stab or shoot her. She just went to sleep and never woke up. There was no pain1. Tell that to the millions of mothers who have and still are caring for their sick children.

Answer me this, would you feel comfortable with another person making the decision to end your life? What happens when you’re too old or too sick to take care of you? If this becomes the norm it will eventually make its way mainstream and come for all of us.  Eugenics is making a comeback.  It seems that the more we forget our history the more it just keeps circling back.

Bonnie Liltz references God so often that I wonder if she belonged to a church or a support group. If she did, she could have talked to her pastor or friends who could have reached out and got her the help she so desperately needed. She was overwhelmed, distraught, ill, and confused. Someone could have counseled her and this tragedy would never have happened.

If Governor Rauner has an ounce of sense, and I’m not sure that he does since he lied to his constituents and just made Illinois the most abortion friendly state in the union, he will uphold the Illinois courts and keep Bonnie Liltz in jail.

 

1 Suburban Mom Who Killed Disabled Daughter in Botched Murder-Suicide Speaks Publicly for 1st Time; Carol Marin and Don Moseley, NBC 5 Carol Marin Reports, August 31, 2016.

2 Bonnie Liltz initially was charged with murder but plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

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Suicide is Painless

The theme song from MASH shares the title of my article. I don’t know any of the lyrics, just the familiar tune. There are currently five states in the US with “aid in dying” laws. They are Oregon, New Mexico, Vermont, Montana and Washington. They are “helping” the terminally ill. Death with dignity is the rally cry. Suicide is a dirty word so they are bending over backward to call it something else. My guess is those 5 states will soon grow exponentially. After all, with the huge numbers of baby boomers watching their ailing parents suffer it would be so much better to have a choice. Choice—there’s that word again. Women who choose to abort their unborn babies have a choice! Children who are burdened with elderly, sick parents have a choice! The choice is life or death.

You can call it assisted suicide, death with dignity but let’s call it for what it is—Euthanasia or Eugenics. It’s been around a long time. Some call it survival of the fittest. But let’s look at its history here in the US. Euthanasia or eugenics became popular in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s during the Progressive Age with such heroes as Charles Darwin, Margaret “Charity is a social evil”1 Sanger, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, even Helen Keller2! They believed in extermination of the unfit, which included those they classified as poor, disabled, imprisoned, mentally or physically ill, the elderly, the very young, the deformed and the feeble-minded which included a broad spectrum of alcoholics, drug addicts, autistic, Down’s Syndrome and people who were “different” etc. This also included any offspring they may produce—hence Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood, and I quote “We are paying for and even submitting to the dictates of an ever increasing, unceasing spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.3”. To quote George Bernard Shaw, “A part of eugenic politics would finally land us in an extensive use of the lethal chamber. A great many people would have to be put out of existence simply because it wastes other people’s time to look at them.”4

 Armed with this knowledge, guess where Nazi Germany got its ideas from. Many of those named above were Nazi sympathizers or socialists, even though some have tried to scrub this from history. For example some historians state although Margaret Sanger believed in birth control and abortion she was against Hitler. Consider the title of her article in The Birth Control Review by Margaret Sanger, Editor, December 1921 “Birth Control: To Create A Race of Thoroughbreds”. Hmmm.

Fast forward to the present new Progressives who have infiltrated the Democratic Party and some of the Republican Party as well, and we are seeing this type of “aiding” the infirm once again. Many scoffed that “death panels” were built into Obamacare. Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Rahm’s brother, and one of the architects of Obamacare has stated publicly he believes nobody over the age of 75 should receive health care. He’s also written extensively on who should receive health care and whose life is worth saving, and blames the Hippocratic Oath for the “overuse” of medical care. Doctors should work for the greater good of society—not the needs of the patient. He’s also created a “complete lives system”. In his own words, “When implemented the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get changes that are attenuated.5” Attenuated means decreased.

Consider the case of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old California woman. Ms. Maynard was diagnosed with a brain cancer. In April, doctors discovered the cancer had become more aggressive. She had up to 6 months to live. Doctors recommended brain radiation. The hair on her scalp would be singed off and her scalp would be covered with first-degree burns. Ms. Maynard researched and discussed her options with her family. She had considered hospice care in her native San Francisco. Doctors told her because she was so young and healthy she was more likely to live longer. She did not want to subject her husband and parents to see her suffer in unbearable pain, even with pain medications.

With all this in mind, Ms. Maynard and her husband decided move to Oregon, where assisted suicides are legal. She has been carrying the prescription that will end her life around with her for some time now; relieved that she is now in control. Her plan is to end her life on November 1st so she can celebrate with her husband on his birthday, October 26th.

This story is truly tragic and I am filled with compassion for her and pray for her healing. However, she is aiding in the desensitization of the American people to assisted suicide. All the pictures that accompany this story are almost exclusively her wedding pictures that truly tug at the heart. Most of us know of someone who was taken in the prime of their life, however, this one is different. Ms. Maynard is choosing to take her life and she’s encouraging others to do the same.

Jesus had a choice too. He didn’t have to die that excruciatingly painful death. There was absolutely no dignity in death by crucifixion. Think of what Mary felt, seeing her son like that. Shouldn’t He have taken that into consideration before deciding to go through with his horrible death? And what about his friends and followers? How could he allow them to watch him die a slow, agonizing death?

As an adult, Jesus’s first words to me were, “Pick up your cross and follow Me”. I’ll never forget it. I was reading a book in the early evening and I heard that soft voice in my right ear. My life has never been the same since. We all have our crosses, some large and some small. Jesus’s Cross was death. Something we all have to go through. My parents bore a large cross, not just in death, and their deaths were not pain free and peaceful. Both of them were no strangers to death having buried their 3-year-old son. Yet I never remember either of them telling me if they had a choice they would have euthanized my brother so they wouldn’t have to see him suffer.

These are the same arguments Ms. Maynard makes. I am not judging Ms. Maynard. Her story is horribly sad. God’s glorious gift to us is free will. It’s up to us to make the decision—right or wrong.   Do we celebrate life only when it’s easy, beneficial, or convenient? Or do we know better than He and discard life when it becomes difficult?

Sources:

  1. Margaret Sanger, The Pivot of Civilization 1922, Chapter Five
  2. Disability and Euthenasia: The Case of Helen Keller and the Bolinger Baby, written John Gerdtz, published on the University Faculty for Life website.
  3. Margaret Sanger, The Pivot of Civilization, (1922) p. 187.
  4. George Bernard Shaw, Lecture to the Eugenics Education Society, Reported in The Daily Express, March 4, 1910
  5. Ezekiel Emanuel in The Lancet, January 31, 2009