Friday, November 9, 2012

Assisted suicide is metastasizing

From the Economist:
VOTERS in Massachusetts will decide next month whether a terminally ill patient with less than six months to live should be able to use a doctor’s help in committing suicide. If they assent, as the polls suggest, the state will be the third, after Oregon and Washington, to legalise assisted suicide. New Jersey introduced a bill last month to decriminalise it. The Montana Supreme Court has ruled that doctors cannot be prosecuted for prescribing lethal drugs for terminally ill patients. 
When Jack Kevorkian, an American doctor jailed after admitting helping 130 patients to die, first went on trial in 1994, assisting suicide was a crime everywhere save Switzerland. Now the trend is spreading far and wide (though not in Asia or in Muslim countries where it is still taboo). 
All this reflects a big shift towards secular thinking and individual autonomy as well as growing worries about the medicalised, miserable and costly way of death that awaits many people in rich countries. Assisted suicide typically gains overwhelming public support; legislators, pro-family lobbies, churches and doctors’ groups tend to be more squeamish. They fear that legal, easy-to-get assisted suicide will have dire social and moral effects... 
 The article claims:
Many doctors throughout Europe nevertheless continue to provide a kind of passive euthanasia for patients in their final hours or days. The “Liverpool care pathway for the dying patient”, first adopted in the north-western English city in the late 1990s, is now standard practice in most British hospitals and hospices. Under it, doctors allow the patient (or his family if he is comatose) to choose whether to prolong life artificially or to remove the life-support system and let the patient die—often with the aid of an extra-strong dose of (life-shortening) painkillers. In America, beset by worries about lawsuits, such an approach is rare and risky.
That's a lie. The removal of extraordinary care (ventilators, medications to support blood pressure. etc) is very common in the U.S. It's called "comfort care", and it's done routinely, in every hospital, all the time. It means that we cease doing heroic things to save life when it only means more suffering, and we focus care on the patient's comfort. We use analgesics, etc. in doses that are necessary to relieve suffering. We do not kill patients. We do relieve their pain and suffering, and there is no problem with withdrawing heroic medical care when it is futile. There is no issue of lawsuits.

Why would the author of this article lie so blatantly? It is a lie, because comfort care is so ubiquitous that to deny it in an article providing so much other detail means that the author intentionally misrepresented it.

The reason that the author lied in this article is that he intended to frighten readers into supporting assisted suicide, as they would believe that without it they were consigned to a medical nightmare of pointless treatment. But that does not happen.

Assisted suicide is an issue on the front lines of the war between those who respect human life and dignity and those who believe that killing human beings is a form of medical treatment. Assisted suicide  is utterly evil. It will corrupt the medical profession in a way that the Nazis and the eugenicists began, and it is a betrayal of suffering helpless people who need compassion and relief of pain and fear, not medically sanctioned (self) execution.

Killing is never medical care, and it is not the answer to suffering.


  1. It's what people want - the option of a quick painless death. It has been legal for quite a while over here in the Netherlands. No medical professionals are forced to participate.Care to provide some evidence that it has "corrupted the medical profession" here?

    1. Here's my evidence--proof, actually: doctors are killing people.


    2. >>No medical professionals are forced to participate.<<

      Tell me why they shouldn't be. If pharmacists should be forced to dispense abortifacients, even in their own pharmacies, why shouldn't doctors be forced to dispense the hundred death pills a patient wants?


    3. @JQ: Liberals like to force people of faith out of professions by forcing them to do things that are unconscionable. Then, when they refuse to comply, they say that you can't have the job if you won't do the job. "Maybe you should find another profession," they say. Then they claim that they didn't force these people out, the people chose to leave.

      If you won't dispense morning after pills, maybe you shouldn't own a hospital. If you don't want to host gay weddings, maybe you shouldn't own a banquet hall. If you don't want to make cupcakes for coming out day, maybe you shouldn't own a bakery. If you won't affirm an adolescent's homosexual urges, maybe you shouldn't be a teacher. And so on.

      Can you hear that? That's the sound of liberals beating their chests about how "pro-choice" they are.

      It's only a matter of time before military chaplains are required to perform same-sex marriages. I already know their arguments before they make them. They'll say that a chaplain who refuses to perform same-sex marriages is just like a chaplain who refuses to marry black people. (The old black skin equals sodomy argument that works so well for them.) Then they'll say that as chaplains it's their duty to serve needs of all soldiers "regardless of sexual orientation." Then they'll say that as commissioned officers they have to follow policy (lawful orders) just like everyone else.

      Chaplains who refuse will be shown the door, which is really what they want. And they'll claim that these chaplains left of their own free will!

      Little John

    4. Evil godless atheist nazi socialist communist evolutionistNovember 9, 2012 at 4:54 PM

      Nice persecution complex, Little John.

    5. "Face it, discrimination is wrong."

      Thank you for making the moral argument. It's official. KW is legislating his morality, forcing his morals on other people.


    6. I assume KW is for forcing churches to perform same-sex weddings?


    7. Look up 'Liverpool Pathway' to see into the future.

    8. There’s no need to force anybody to do anything other than have licensed professionals meet standards that don’t allow for discrimination, and for the government and like minded private entities to have a zero tolerance policy for discrimination by their employees.

      This would notionally include chaplains, but I for one wouldn’t mind compromising as long as the military could provide chaplains that would perform gay marriages to any service members who want them. I’m happy to allow chaplains to be bigots; anti-gay bigotry is an important component of many Christian’s faith. All I’m saying is let’s be sure to hire enough gay marriage performing chaplains to allow our gay service members to have the same privileges as their strait counterparts.

      Live as you wish, but know equal rights for gays is happening, and there’s nothing moral or right that you can do to stop it.