WASHINGTON--A researcher with the Family Research Council considers euthanasia an "up-and-coming" issue for the pro-life movement in the United States.
Arina O. Grossu, director for the FRC's Center for Human Dignity, discussed euthanasia and the societal impact of laws that legalize physician-assisted suicide in the U.S. and Europe during a presentation titled, "The State of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide in the U.S."
In an interview with The Christian Post at the conservative organization's headquarters Wednesday, Grossu said she believes euthanasia is a matter of life issue and one that should get more attention, akin to the abortion debate.
"In the pro-life movement, we're for all human life from conception to natural death. And so we need to cover that, and especially because I think it is an up-and-coming fight for us," Grossu said. "I think that as more cases come out where parents are trying to kill their children, or the elderly or the disabled, and we see the shortage in federal funds for healthcare, we are going to see the effect of this. And we're going to step in. But I am hoping that people will take a proactive stance instead of a defensive stance on the issue."
Grossu commented on statistics in Oregon, the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide, and labeled increasing suicide rates among Oregonians as an "assisted suicide disaster."
"Every year, Oregon has to put out a report on its assisted suicide rates," said Grossu, noting that the report "cannot guarantee that the deaths were voluntary."
"It wasn't just assisted suicides," she said, "it was also regular suicides. Oregon's suicide rate has been increasing since 2000. That was just a little after assisted suicide was legalized."
Referencing laws in Europe, Grossu also cited statistics that show a dramatic increase in overall suicide rates as well as assisted suicides in Belgium and the Netherlands, since both countries legalized euthanasia.
In February, Belgium passed a "right to die" law that allows assisted suicides of terminally ill children.
The Belgian Chamber of Deputies voted 86 to 44, with 12 abstentions, in favor of the euthanasia law, which Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Roger Kiska called "inhumane."
"Belgium's decision to allow this is grotesquely abhorrent and inhumane," said Kiska, in a statement released after the bill was passed.
"No civilized society allows children to kill themselves," he continued. "Far from a compassionate law, this law hands the equivalent of a loaded gun to a child with the astonishing belief that the child should be free to pull the trigger if he or she so chooses."
Belgium's neighbor, the Netherlands, already allows for euthanasia for children 12 and older, however, it must come with parental consent.
"Supporters of the legislation argue that, in practice, the law will affect an extremely small number of children who would probably be in their teens," reported the BBC.
"The law states a child would have to be terminally ill, face 'unbearable physical suffering' and make repeated requests to die before euthanasia is considered."
While euthanasia is illegal in all 50 states, physician assisted suicide is legal in Oregon, Vermont and Washington state.