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Self-Sacrificial Love in the Bioethics Sphere

Kiss today goodbye 
And point me toward tomorrow. 
We did what we had to do. 
Won’t forget, can’t regret 
What I did for love.
—A Chorus Line

Imagine the pain. Imagine the sleepless nights. One minute you are leading an ordinary life. Then something awful happens to someone you love—a heart attack, an accident, or a disease. Suddenly, not only are you coping with that tragedy, but you find yourself in a dispute with doctors or other family members over your loved one’s care, a literal matter of life and death.

You take a stand. You sue and are sued. Lawyers attack you. Bioethicists accuse you of acting irrationally. In the worst case, you find yourself in the Klieg lights of media-sensationalized controversy. You are mocked. Your motives are impugned. Your personal life is dissected. Your bank account is drained. I call this crucible the “bioethics-sphere.”

I have never been in the bioethics-sphere, but I have worked with—or reported on—many who have. Three cases that made international headlines stand out vividly in my mind, circumstances in which ordinary people acted in extraordinary self-sacrificial love.

Gerald Klooster’s Son

In 1995, when Gerald (Chip) Klooster II learned that his mother Ruth was taking his father Gerald, afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, to euthanasia activist Jack Kevorkian for an assisted suicide, he knew he had to act. Chip flew to Florida—where his parents were visiting friends—and quickly whisked his father to his own home in Michigan. There he petitioned for guardianship and was granted temporary custody.



Read more at First Things. 

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