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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Euthanasia Really the Right of Kevorkians



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There is an aspect to the disabled twins joint euthanasia story out of Belgium, about which I posted yesterday, that I thought needed a separate comment. The first doctor the men went to asking to be killed said no. So, they merely went doctor shopping until they found one willing to kill.

We see the same phenomenon in Oregon. Back in the early days when the Oregon Department of Health published more detailed assisted suicide statistics, we learned that many assisted suicide victims had known their death doctors for just two weeks before they died. In other words, the patient’s treating doctors had said no, and so the patient consulted a death doctor–pure Kevorkianism–usually referred by the assisted suicide group Compassion and Choices.

Indeed, the first Oregon assisted suicide only found her death doctor on the third try because her own and another doctor refused–the latter deciding she was depressed. The point of the referral by the assisted suicide ideologues was not to treat the patient so she might want to continue living, or find ways to ameliorate her pain, but to make sure she could be made dead. (When critics of Oregon assisted suicide made note of this statistic, Oregon death bureaucrats acted!  They merely stopped publishing those particular statistical details.) Since most Oregon doctors don’t participate in assisted suicide–good on them–I have no doubt the same thing remains true today.

So, this is the bottom line: There is no “right to die.”  There is a Kevorkian death doctor entitlement to kill or assist in suicide, depending on the particular jurisdiction, without legal consequence. In the end, it all depends on the doctor’s ideological predilections. 



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