The speed on the Slippery Slope is accelerating. And our side is fighting it with our hands tied behind our backs.
Earlier this month, Canada’s Supreme Court opened the door to doctor-prescribed death throughout the country by ordering Parliament to write a bill legalizing it “for competent adults who seek such assistance as a result of a grievous and irremediable medical condition that causes enduring and intolerable suffering.”
The National Post has already noted that “enduring and intolerable suffering” might be interpreted to include incurable depression.
Does anybody really wonder what the final Canadian law will look like a year hence?
At the moment, pro-lifers are hoping that doctors of conscience at least will be allowed to sequester themselves off the slope of both abortion and euthanasia. We will call that victory in the northland.
Here in the United States, the angle of the slippery slope is more gradual because states still have some rights to control what happens inside their own borders. So our side will have more chances to fight this.
Somewhere between 15 and 26 states are expected to debate some form of legalized suicide this year. The ones to watch are New York, New Jersey, and California.
Maryland would be debating it now too, except that new governor Larry Hogan made it clear he would veto such legislation. Remember: Elections have consequences!
Courts, of course, are a wild card. Court cases on the legality of death-on-demand are pending in New York and New Mexico. A 2009 court ruling in Montana didn’t legalize assisted suicide, but did find that doctors who prescribe it could use patient request as a defense.
The State of Washington has already legalized it, as has Vermont. Uber-green Oregon has had it since 1997, and Medicaid pays for it there.
Since legalization, 1,173 people in Oregon have been prescribed death-causing medication—a number which has increased dramatically since ObamaCare went into effect: from 97 death prescriptions in 2010 to 122 in 2013. Is that a coincidence or a bellwether?
Why Are We Losing?
For one thing, the pro-death crowd has better marketing and media coverage than we do. They’ve got heart-wrenching stories and they tell them.
Where are our heart-wrenching stories of heroic virtue to match theirs? Tell me in a Comment below if you know a single one that has made it into a media outlet!
NPR’s star talk-show host, Diane Rehm, makes no bones about her support of the “right to die,” even to the point of grieving on air that her husband had to starve himself to death for want of a doctor to give him the fatal shot.
Five days a week she has the ear of the nation.
Even as you read this, the World Federation of Right to Die Societies is working to rebrand suicide. They know the public doesn’t like the word “suicide”—when it’s used in polls, people are against it. So they are weighing different euphemisms like “self-deliverance” and “humane self-chosen suicide.”
They know that to achieve victory, they must invoke positive, affirming emotions about taking control of one’s life and doing the loving thing for others. That’s how you sell products in this culture!
And what is our side offering? To use marketing lingo, what “product” is our side “selling” as an alternative?
Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s eloquent opposition to New York State efforts to legalize physician-assisted suicide speaks to “the real heroes . . . who die naturally, who take each day at a time . . . That is death with dignity.”
That is absolutely true, of course.
But looked at from a marketing perspective, the alternative to “self-deliverance” is . . . suffering.
Suffering is not going to be a winning brand in a culture driven by pride and fear of suffering.
Where is the consumer psychology that will allow our side, the opponents of self-murder, to discover the subconscious emotional triggers and barriers in the minds of the public so we can craft a message that will get through?
Corporate America knows how to do this kind of brand research. Why doesn’t the pro-life movement?
Whoever steps up to the plate and undertakes such research will be a true hero for the culture of life, not only in America but around the world.
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Connie Marshner has been a pro-life, pro-family researcher, grassroots trainer, organizer, and lobbyist; manager; writer; homeschooler; editor; campaign adviser; coalition leader; fundraiser; and political strategist. She is absolutely thrilled now to be a blogger for Human Life Review.