25 October 2017

Press Release: Joni Eareckson Tada's Revised "When Is It Right to Die?" Answers Today's Questions about Assisted Suicide

Joni Eareckson Tada's Revised "When Is It Right to Die?" Answers Today's Questions about Assisted Suicide
        New Book Takes 'A Comforting and Surprising Look at Death and Dying'
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Oct. 23, 2017 – As Joni Eareckson Tada marked 50 years in her wheelchair this past July, she reflected on the many changes in society in these last few decades, especially toward those with disabilities. She realized developments in the assisted suicide movement since she first wrote "When Is It Right to Die?" in 1992 have greatly increased the danger to those who are most vulnerable, and it's more important than ever to rightly understand the meaning of true compassion for those who are disabled or dying. The updated book releases on January 30, 2018, from Zondervan.   
"In the last 25 years, I've ached as I've seen more and more people stand behind the idea that a person has the 'right to die,'" Tada said. "We are rapidly sliding down the slippery slope that advocates and families of people with disabilities have long feared and campaigned against.  Even now, it is having an alarming impact against the elderly and those with disabilities.
"That is why I have returned to this book. What these families need is not help in legalizing something that is not moral. They need respite and caring communities to provide personal help and a network of support. They need to know true compassion so they cannot possibly mistake a lethal prescription or a legal death decree as compassion."
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The book includes about 25 percent new content and is divided into 3 sections addressing what it means to live well, what it means to choose and what it means to die. Each chapter includes real-life examples to illustrate Tada's points, as well as discussion questions at the end for readers to flesh out what choices they might make in similar situations, based on the information shared in the preceding pages.
Tada emphasizes that aid in dying is not to be confused with allowing someone who is already dying to do so peacefully. These are far different situations and both are specifically addressed in Scriptures. "The Bible teaches that any means to produce or hasten death in order to alleviate suffering is never justified," Tada explains. "However, letting someone die is another matter entirely. Allowing a person to die when he or she is, in fact, dying is justified."
Tada defines multiple terms related to life and death discussions, including euthanasia's historic and modern definitions and connotations. She clarifies "death with dignity," "aid in dying," and both quality and sanctity of life. She declares that decisions must be made based on the absolute value of life, reflecting the long-held ethic that human life holds complete worth without relationship to a person's functioning ability, rather than the relative value of life, which is appraised in relation to how much a person can or cannot do.
"The line of distinction is not so much between life and death as it is between life and dying, but because the people who are 'imminently dying' are unique, warm-blooded human beings with unique circumstances, it's often impossible to pin down exactly when the process of dying begins," Tada writes. "So when it comes to the 'pull the plug' question, don't waste your time looking for rules, three-step plans and a tidy list of dos and don'ts.
"Your process of making personal decisions is as close as your doctor, family and clergy. Insight for making distinctions can be drawn from the experience of a caring physician, the condition of the dying person, and the input of family and counselors who know the value of life," Tada continues. "Historically, life and death decisions have always been made this way."
For more information about "When Is It Right to Die?" visit http://www.zondervan.com/when-is-it-right-to-die.
Joni Eareckson Tada, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Joni and Friends International Disability Center, is an international advocate for people with disabilities. A diving accident in 1967 left her, then 17, a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. After two years of rehabilitation, she emerged with new skill and a fresh determination to help others in similar situations. She founded Joni and Friends in 1979 to provide Christ-centered programs to special-needs families, as well as training to churches. Joni and Friends serves thousands of special-needs families through Family Retreat, and has delivered nearly 200,000 wheelchairs and Bibles to needy disabled persons in developing nations. Tada's lifelong passion is to bring the Gospel to the world's 1 billion people with disabilities. She survived stage-3 breast cancer in 2010, yet keeps a very active ministry schedule. She and her husband Ken were married in 1982 and reside in Calabasas, California. More information is available at www.joniandfriends.org.
            Zondervan, part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, is a world leading Bible publisher and provider of Christian communications. For more than 80 years, Zondervan has delivered transformational Christian experiences through its bestselling Bibles, books, curriculum, academic resources and digital products. The company's products are sold in multiple formats, worldwide in more than 60 countries, translated into nearly 200 languages. Zondervan offices are located in Grand Rapids, Mich. For additional information, please visit http://www.zondervan.com.

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