After suffering a crushing defeat when they tried to oppose the Heartbeat Bill last year; Senator Steve Henson, Senator Nan Orrock, and their pro-death supporters took the year to lick their wounds and have returned this legislative session with a new targeted attack on the innocent and most vulnerable among us – Senate Bill 291, the “Georgia Death with Dignity Act“.
There are attempts to introduce a version of this same initiative every few years, each with a different, catchy, and seemingly altruistic name – meant to ignite a sense of compassion and support from those who don’t realize that their only goal is to continue to attack and erode the value of human life, and our morals along with it. They have pretty words and misleading language, but as we’ve seen in every state or nation which has legalized this callous practice; a ‘right to die’ eventually means a ‘duty to die’, and ‘compassion’ always means killing. They try to tell us that someone begins approaching the end of their lives is merely a ‘shell’ of their former self, that they wouldn’t choose to live ‘like this,’ that they’d never want to be a ‘burden’ on their loved ones, and that the ‘compassionate’ or ‘loving’ thing to do would be to murder them.
For me, this isn’t just about politics or scoring points at the capitol…and it shouldn’t be for you either. Senators Henson and Orrock have come for our families. They’ve come for MY family.
I spent the majority of my childhood with my grandparents. My mother was very young, unprepared, and unmarried when I was born. She worked 2-3 jobs most of the time and would drop me on my grandparents’ doorstep for days or weeks at a time – often with little to no notice. I am certain that the intrusion of an infant when their own children were finally grown and out of the house was not ideal for them; but my grandmother never once let me feel like a burden. She joyfully nurtured and loved me. She fed me when I couldn’t feed myself, she interpreted for me when I couldn’t yet speak, she stood for me when I couldn’t yet walk. She took me to church with her every Sunday. She taught me how to saddle and ride a horse. She showed me that the difference between right and wrong doesn’t change and it has nothing to do with how we feel in the moment.
Objectively; I was useless to her. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t use the toilet independently. I gave nothing and required much. I complicated her life at a time when she should have been able to finally begin to relax and take things a little easier, maybe even start to travel or take up those hobbies she’d always been too busy tending her family to pursue. I was inconvenient.
My grandmother now lives every day dependent on oxygen tanks that must be changed every few hours, medicines and injections that must be administered in strict regimens. She has COPD, Alzheimer’s disease, and her doctor’s very recently found a cancerous and inoperable tumor. She is forgetful and clumsy, elderly, and feeble. The woman who showed such strength of character, the woman who was such a pillar of independence and grace for my entire life, the woman who taught me how to hold a fork and that you always cook bacon in the cast iron skillet before making cornbread, the woman who taught me to sew and read my bible, the woman who taught me right from wrong and to never look down on someone unless I was helping them up – that woman now depends on others for literally everything. She falls asleep during conversations, she forgets names and details, she struggles with daily tasks that used to be so easy for her. She is fading before my eyes. When I am with her; however, I still see that Spanish fire ignite her eyes when I’m telling a story that gets her spirit riled up, or I ‘accidentally’ use a swear word. I can still feel her love for me when I lie beside her, even though she sometimes can’t wrap her arms around me like she used to. I still see my grandmother.
Senators Henson and Orrock would like you and I to believe that she should die. That my family would be giving her ‘dignity’ to allow her to kill herself. That the ‘compassionate’ thing to do for her would be to tell her that she’s a burden. That she should take a pill and end her life so that we can all move on with ours without the ‘unpleasant’ task of watching her fade from us.
Will it break my heart to say goodbye to the woman who raised me? Yes. Without question.
Will anything ease the loss of her when she is called away? Absolutely not.
But when she does leave this world; it will not be with grief in her heart because the law has told her she has a duty to die and spare her family from the ‘burden’ of caring for her. It will be with me by her side, speaking for her when she can no longer speak, feeding her when she can no longer feed herself, standing for her when she can no longer stand. Fighting for her when she can no longer fight.
Those supporting this bill tell us that this will be too painful – that she’d be better off dead at this point because she wouldn’t want that to happen. That there will come a time, soon, where my grandmother will see my face and not remember who I am. That’s okay. I don’t do this because she remembers me or knows who I am – I do it because I remember who she was, who she is, and Whose she is.
Murder isn’t healthcare. There is nothing compassionate about ending a human life when it’s become ‘inconvenient’. Do not believe their lies; there is no ‘dignity’ in telling someone that they would be better off dead.
Stand for people like my grandmother. Help me defend her.
Call Senators Steve Henson (404-656-0085) and Nan Orrock (404-463-8054); tell them that you oppose Senate Bill 291.
As a pro-life movement, we must stand for those at the end of their lives with the same passion that we stand for those at the beginning of their lives. The time to speak up is now. If we win the fight against abortion but neglect to defend the elderly and infirm, we have still lost.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. (Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter from a Birmingham Jail)
Elizabeth Reed is the Leadership Director at Georgia Life Alliance, the largest pro-life group in Georgia and the state affiliate to National Right to Life.