A new poll by Christian-based LifeWay Research finds that 59 percent of Christians believe it is morally acceptable for terminally ill patients to ask their doctors to assist them in suicide.
The survey also found that 67 percent of Americans are in favor of this request, while 70 percent of Catholics support it and 38 percent of Evangelical Christians are OK with it.
Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, said: "If they are facing a slow, painful death, Americans want options. Many believe that asking for help in dying is a moral option. They don’t believe that suffering until they die of natural causes is the only way out."
The definition of "death by natural causes" is ever-changing because of the advances in technology and medical science. People died of bacterial infections, i.e. natural causes, before penicillin was invented in 1928. The first heart transplant did not happen until 1967.
"Traditional Christian teaching says God holds the keys to life and death," McConnell stated. "Those who go to church or hold more traditional beliefs are less likely to see assisted suicide as morally acceptable. Still, a surprising number do."
In response to the poll, Evangelical Christian disability activist/quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada told The Christian Post that the problem with evangelicals who support this option for terminally ill people is their own personal fear of suffering:
They have a basic fear about old age and pain and disability but fears are not the basis for good social policy. Fundamental fears about suffering and disabilities should never ever be the basis for social policy. My contention is that most Christians do not understand that we already have good laws on the books, which allow for people to "die with dignity."
Only Colorado, California, Washington, Vermont, and Montana have "die with dignity" laws that allow terminally ill people to choose physician-assisted suicide, notes Lifeway Research.
However, Eareckson Tada defines "die with dignity" as refusing medical care:
You don't have to have extended treatment. You don't have to have that extra surgery. You don't have to take chemo. You don't have to undergo kidney dialysis. You don't have to prolong pain. If there is anything we should be focusing on, it should not be making it easier for people to die. Let's pull more resources into developing better pain management therapies, pain management techniques and educating more doctors on effective pain management.
Eareckson Tada supported Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida for president in March because she opposes Obamacare, which has provided health care for an estimated 20 million Americans.
Eareckson Tada told The Gospel Herald Society:
What Senator Rubio has done thus far in the Senate to help dismantle Obamacare is pretty important, because the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, is not good news for the elderly, the medically fragile, infants with disabilities, or people like me with significantly handicapping conditions.
When there are only a limited number of healthcare dollars, people with significant disabilities and the elderly aren't going to have the same access to good healthcare as those that are healthy and able-bodied. I'm so grateful that Senator Rubio recognizes this, he sees this, he sees the danger of the Affordable Care Act, and he has moved in the Senate to help begin dismantling it, and that's that good news.
As a matter of record, Obamacare doesn't discriminate against anyone because of disabilities, age or other reasons. Obamacare does prevent insurance companies from discriminating against people because of pre-existing conditions.