Friday, August 07, 2009

Going Too Far with Assisted Suicide?

Time Magazine:

We allow for the removal of feeding tubes, the withdrawal of respirators, the replacement of aggressive treatment with palliative care; these can all be wise and merciful choices. But each step forward gets a little more slippery. Is there some point, visible in the cloudy moral distance, where the right to die becomes a duty to die? We don't need to set Grandma adrift on her ice floe; the pressures would be subtle, wrapped in the language of reason and romance — the bereaved widower who sees no reason to try to start over, the quadriplegic rugby player whose memories paralyze his hopes, the chronically ill mother who wants to set her children free. Already in Oregon, one-third of those who chose assisted suicide last year cited the burden on their families and caregivers as a reason. A study in the Netherlands found that one in four doctors said they had killed patients without an explicit request--including one doctor who believed that a dying Dutch nun was prevented from requesting euthanasia because of her religion, so he felt the just and merciful thing to do was to decide for her.

But we have nothing to fear, people. Everyone in the medical system is above board. Human nature is perfectible, and NO ONE will EVER make anyone feel like they have to die, and the terminally ill will not draw the lesson that they are not wanted.

Nothing to see here.

H/T: Not Dead Yet