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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

AP Gets It Wrong. Again



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You would think that the MSM could at least get the simple facts about euthanasia correct. But no. In this AP piece, the wire service purports to summarize euthanasia laws around the world. And, true to type, it is mostly rubbish:

"NETHERLANDS--Euthanasia was legalized in 2001, but the practice was common for at least a decade before that. Under the law, patients must be terminally ill, in unbearable pain and two doctors must agree there is no prospect for recovery.

BELGIUM--Legalized euthanasia under similar conditions as the Netherlands in 2002.

SWITZERLAND--Allows passive assistance to terminally ill people who have expressed a wish to die."


The Netherlands has allowed euthanasia since 1973. It does not require that people asking for euthanasia be terminally ill, and it never has. Indeed, the Dutch Supreme Court has explicitly approved assisted suicide for people who are depressed, but not otherwise physically ill. Nor does Switzerland require that the lay groups assisting suicide restrict their activities to the dying. Belgium does, but it isn't enforced. Indeed, the very first euthanasia death was of a disabled man with MS--and of course, nothing was done about it. (For more on euthanasia/assisted suicide in these countries, see this piece I wrote for the NRO in 2003).

"Voters in Oregon went further and approved the first physician-assisted suicide law in the U.S. in 1994, but it is now under legal challenge."

Uh, no it isn't, and it hasn't been since the mid-1990s. The recent Supreme Court ruling did not involve a direct challenge to the law, and in any event, has been decided in Oregon's favor. There are no legal cases pending about Oregon assisted suicide.

Pathetic.


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