Hardwig thinks that we may have a duty to die when the burden of caring for us seriously compromises the lives of those who love us:
* they may be physically exhausted by caring for us
* they may be emotionally exhausted by caring for us
* they may be financially destroyed by the cost of our healthcare
* they may be financially destroyed by having to give up work to care for us
* their home may become a place of grief and sickness
* other family members may be neglected as all attention is focussed on us
Hardwig says that there are no general rules - each case will be different, and he openly admits, “I can readily imagine that, through cowardice, rationalisation, or failure of resolve, I will fail in this obligation to protect my loved ones. If so, I think I would need to be excused or forgiven for what I did.”
Nor does Hardwig think that a person should make their final decision without consulting their family - although he points out the difficulties in doing this.
Since October is Respect Life month, it would be good to pray for the conversion of Professor Hardwig and all those who promote the culture of death.