(CatholicPhilly.com) – Attacks on autonomy and human dignity appear to be intensifying. Autonomy, of course, refers to our ability to act as independent human beings, with an innate and inviolable human dignity inherent to each of us, regardless of our physical, medical, emotional, psychological, or financial circumstances.
It seems as if so many, however, are intent on reconsidering autonomy to mean something like an “autonomy of self-harm.” In other words, many are using autonomy as a means to advocate for forms of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Yet autonomy has traditionally referred to human good; our ability and desire as well as power to achieve a good life in cooperation with our loved ones, neighbors, fellow citizens, and others. It’s a tragic and perverse situation to use autonomy as a rhetorical battering ram for advocating the rights of human beings to intentionally end their own lives.
As so much of our attention is focused on dramas of the political arena, stories which ought to be receiving attention are simply not. Certainly, meaningful public dialogue surrounding issues like autonomy and human dignity are not taking place in any sustained manner.
Let’s take a short “world tour” to consider the sorts of cases garnering only scant coverage and little or no public conversation. CONTINUE