Human Exceptionalism

Gay Marriage, Assisted Suicide Different Issues

Assisted suicide advocates continually try to link that agenda with other causes they deem to have greater public appeal.

For example, doctor-prescribed/administered death has been called the “ultimate civil right,” in an obvious attempt to co-opt our high regard for the Civil Rights Movement. But many civil rights organizations such as LULAC and the disability rights community oppose the death agenda.

Assisted suicide and euthanasia have been linked to abortion, in the belief that more people support that agenda than oppose it. But pro-choice people oppose assisted suicide as do pro-life people–for example the American Medical Association that is decidedly in favor of the right to an abortion.

Suicide advocates never stop pushing the anti-Catholic button. Yes, the CC opposes euthanasia. But in the public square, its representatives do so using rational and secular arguments. They don’t say, “It is a sin, and so it should be against the law.” 

Making a larger point, many of the most noted opponents of assisted suicide are distinctly secular. Here’s a short list:

– Atheist civil libertarian, Nat Hentoff;

-Leftist, secular writers, Kevin Yuill and Robert P. Jones;

– The country’s best palliative care physicians, such as Ira Byock, Kathleen Foley, and Diane Meier;

– Suicide experts, such as the psychiatrist Herbert Hendin;

– The great Ralph Nader.

The list could go on and on.

Now, it is same sex marriage. From a column in the Huffington Post by Ronald A. Lindsay:

Legalization of same-sex marriage and PAD is properly regarded as a continuation of the process of granting greater scope to personal freedom. People should be free to marry whomever they love, whether of the opposite sex or the same sex, and they should be allowed a measure of control over the most intimate decision a person can make, namely whether to hasten their death.

Please note that I never saw SSM and assisted suicide prominently connected when SSM was strongly disfavored in the pollsBut here is a truth worth hearing: Supporters of SSM and opponents of SSM oppose assisted suicide. 

Moreover, beyond a few surface similarities invoked by Lindsay–whose treatment of assisted suicide opposition is about as deep as an evaporating puddle after a light rain–the arguments against the respective agendas come from distinctly different places. For example, the Hippocratic Oath has proscribed doctor participation in assisted suicide for 2500 years.

Elections demonstrate that the more people learn about the reality of assisted suicide, the more they tend to oppose it–at least five refusals by voters to legalize, versus two in favor since 1991. That is why supporters work overtime to create false equivalencies.

This is just the same old bootstrapping.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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