Osho speaks about the politics in declaring abortions illegal and at the same time preventing dying people from having a pleasant death.
Just the other day I heard there was a demonstration of seventy thousand people in the capital demanding that abortion should not be legal, it should be declared illegal. And when President Reagan – just look at these politicians! – was governor of California he had signed the bill for legalization of abortion, because in California there was a great movement, an upsurge for legalization of abortion. Then he signed the bill. And now he inaugurates this procession that wants the constitution amended, and abortion declared illegal again because it is against religion and against life.
Reagan inaugurated that protest because now all the orthodox people in the country, particularly the orthodox Christians, Catholics and Jews – all orthodox people – are with this movement. When declaring that procession inaugurated, Reagan said, “In my whole life I have committed only one mistake, and that was when I was governor of California and I signed that bill. That was the only mistake that I have committed.”
Politicians can change their face very easily. Wherever the crowd is going, they jump ahead of it. They cannot lose, so they have to be very alert. I have said many times that the political leaders are followers of their followers. The great politician is one who knows where the followers are going and keeps himself ahead of them. Wherever they are going does not matter; he should just remain ahead of them so they always know that he is the leader. He should keep his every sense alert, otherwise someday he will look back – and all the followers will have moved somewhere else; he will be standing alone.
Now, he will run and find the followers, and immediately be ahead of them. Here he was ahead of them because they were for legalization of abortion; now he is against it because they are against it. What can he do? – he has to be the leader in every case. His business is to be the leader – it does not matter what the cause is. And what do you want? That doesn’t matter; all that matters is that he is ahead of you.
Now, all these people – Catholics, Hindus, Mohammedans, Jews – all are against abortion. If they are against abortion then they should be a little logical about it, then they should be against saving people’s lives too; then there will be a balance. But nobody protests.
There are people in the hospitals unnecessarily harassing the doctors and the nurses. Their legs are hanging up in one direction and their hands are hanging up in some other direction. Another person needs the continual attendance of a doctor and a nurse and so many medicines. And he is on oxygen: if you just turn his oxygen off he will be gone. Why are you keeping him alive? What is the purpose of his being alive? Why are you torturing him? But the doctors have been taught that “Your purpose is to save life.” That was taught by Hippocrates two thousand years ago when death was rampant.
Now these fools go on taking the oath of Hippocrates; every medical student takes the oath of Hippocrates: “My whole life I will try to save life.” But things have changed. When Hippocrates said that, out of ten children, nine children were dying before they became two years of age; out of ten children only one was surviving. Of course, the man was saying something meaningful when he told them to try to save life, but now the state is just the reverse. Even in countries like India, out of ten children only one is dying. At that time nine were dying and one remained alive; now nine are remaining alive and only one dies – and every effort is being made to save that one too.
One can understand trying to save a child; but why are you saving old people who have lived, lived enough, suffered, enjoyed, did all kinds of things, good and bad? Now it is time; let them go. But the doctors cannot let them go because it is illegal. They cannot put them off oxygen, so you go on saving the dying or almost-dead people.
No pope issues a commandment that these people should be allowed freedom from their bodies. And what of their bodies is left? Somebody’s legs are missing, somebody’s hands are missing; somebody’s heart is not working so a battery is working instead of the heart; somebody’s lungs are not working; somebody’s kidneys are not working, so mechanical kidneys are doing the work of the kidneys. But what is the purpose of these people? What will they do even if you continue to keep them going this way?
Yes, at the most they keep a few people employed, that’s all. But what kind of a creative life are they going to have? And what joy can they have in all that is being done to them? Continual injections are being given to them. They cannot sleep, then sleeping pills are given to them. They cannot wake up, then activators are forced into their blood so they have to wake up. But for what reason? – the Hippocratic oath? Let Hippocrates go to hell! He had no idea what his oath was going to bring about.
There should be some movement so that when people have lived enough and they desire to be freed from their bodies, then hospitals should provide a convenient, pleasant death. It is absolutely sane that every hospital should have a special ward with all facilities so that death becomes a pleasant experience, enjoyable.
Instead of medicines a meditator should be there to teach the dying man how to meditate, because now medicine is not needed, meditation is needed – how to relax and peacefully disappear from this body. Every hospital needs meditators – they are essential – just as it needs doctors. Up to now meditators were not needed because there was only one function: to save life. Now the function is doubled: to help people die. Every university should have a department where meditation is taught so that people themselves are ready. When the time comes to die, they are fully ready to die with joy, with celebration.
But suicide is a crime. This will be considered suicide and I will be considered to be teaching people illegal things. But in an illegal city what else can I do? I can say only what is absolutely right; whether it is legal or illegal I don’t care a bit. My concern is with truth, not with law. The truth is that you have unbalanced life, nature. Please give back its balance. Either you have to stop saving children, and abortions should remain legal, birth control methods should be used widely – in fact it should be a crime not to use them. If somebody is caught not using them he should be jailed.
Osho, From Personality to Individuality, Ch 30, Q 1 (excerpt)