Yesterday I pointed out that Vicki Kennedy has come out against the assisted-suicide ballot initiative in Massachusetts. Today we can turn to Zeke Emanuel, formerly of the Obama administration.
He points out on the New York Times website that, based on the Netherlands experiment with faux mercy:
Nearly half of those who requested euthanasia were depressed.
In this light, physician-assisted suicide looks less like a good death in the face of unremitting pain and more like plain old suicide. Typically, our response to suicidal feelings associated with depression and hopelessness is not to give people the means to end their lives but to offer them counseling and caring.
Dr. Emanuel indicates that “the people most likely to be abused if assisted suicide is legalized” are “poor, poorly educated, dying patients who pose a burden to their relatives.”
And he calls for actual mercy:
Instead of attempting to legalize physician-assisted suicide, we should focus our energies on what really matters: improving care for the dying — ensuring that all patients can openly talk with their physicians and families about their wishes and have access to high-quality palliative or hospice care before they suffer needless medical procedures. The appeal of physician-assisted suicide is based on a fantasy. The real goal should be a good death for all dying patients.
As Kim Daniels points out, these are some of the arguments Sean Cardinal O’Malley has been making in Massachusetts, in opposition to the initiative. But, as with another issue Catholic bishops have been leading voices on this election cycle, it is not just a Catholic argument and it doesn’t just affect Catholics.