A Duty to Die

Recently I wrote about the “right to die” and my belief that because each life is a gift from our Creator, we have no “right to die”. In the Culture of Death, which does believe in a person’s “right to die”, there is a movement which posits that the sick and/or their families are not the best judges of when it is their time to die. The Culture of Death believes that doctors and/or ethicists should decide when it is our time to give up our lives.

In 2002, the ethics committee of the University of Pennsylvania Hospital approved new guidelines which stated, “intensive care would not routinely be given to patients in a persistent vegetative or minimally conscious state. Only patients who had explicitly requested such care would get it.” It decided that the “exclusion from rehabilitative or other forms of life-enhancing treatment” would apply to “patients with severe brain damage.” Hopeless patients would not be admitted to an ICU (intensive care unit).

“Doctor Knows Best” in The Culture of Death. As the medical community husbands its expensive resources, it now positions itself to decide which of our lives are worth living and are therefore worthy of medical treatment. It becomes the judge of which of us is unworthy of life-saving procedures. When the hospital rules that your life is not worth living, then you have “a duty to die”, according to the ethics of the Culture of Death. This nationwide movement has already convinced many Americans to endorse legal euthanasia for those who would be “better off dead”, rather than continue keeping them alive with extraordinary means. We would not want to live as miserably as they live, therefore, they should die.

With this new theory that some lives are not worth living, American hospitals have begun implementing ‘futile care’ policies, which offer death as the only “choice”. What began with a ‘right to die’ has now become a ‘duty to die’. When a patient is given a poor prognosis by a medical practitioner, no matter whether it is accurate or not, it will become a death sentence for that patient, as in the Culture of Death, when care is “futile”, the patient has a duty to die. There are no beliefs in prayer or miracles; “Doctor is always right”, and there are no misdiagnoses.

Nancy Valko, an experienced Registered Nurse and activist for the disabled, says “Just a generation ago, doctors and nurses were ethically prohibited from hastening or causing death. Family disputes and ethically gray situations occurred, but certain actions such as withdrawing medically assisted food and water from a severely brain-damaged but non-dying person were considered illegitimate no matter who was making the decision. But with the rise of the modern bioethics movement, life is no longer assumed to have the intrinsic value it once did, and ‘quality of life’ has become the overriding consideration. Over time, the ethical question, ‘what is right?’ became ‘who decides’, which now has devolved into ‘what is legally allowed?'”

It has been reported that physicians, hospital administrators and bioethicists of the Culture of Death find it worrisome to always have to ask “what is legally allowed?” They fear that they can lose a lawsuit when denying care to a disabled patient, therefore they are demanding more case law to enable them to end lives they consider “futile.” The handicapped, when needing hospital care, such as routine operations, are increasingly at risk of being labeled “Do Not Resusitate”.

Euthansia “It is one of the tragedies of our lives that someone who wants very much to live can nevertheless have a duty to die.” John Hardwig,


“Such human weeds clog up the path….We must clear the way for a better world; we must cultivate our garden.” ~~ Margaret Sanger (1883-1966), Founder, Planned Parenthood, “Slouching Towards a Duty to Die”

Lamm’s ‘duty to die’ Message Lives On, Former governor feels vindicated in his stance against futile prolongation of life.

The Duty To Die

The Duty To Die, by Thomas Sowell, 2001

Is There a Duty to Die ? (Biomedical Ethics Reviews)
Book Review

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