Human Exceptionalism

“Kill Me” Living Will Coming to Australia?

The euthanasia movement rarely tells the full truth about its objectives. Activists pretend that their goal is only to legalize “voluntary” terminations, or in the USA, to restrict killing to the already dying whose suffering–a very elastic term in euthanasia advocacy–cannot otherwise be controlled.

But once a society accepts the premise that killing is an acceptable answer to human suffering, eventually concepts such as “voluntary” and “only for the terminally ill,” fall by the wayside. Look at the Netherlands, where 45% of neonatologists (according to a Lancet study) have committed infanticide and doctors engage in non voluntary euthanasia–euphemistically called “termination without request”–without fear of any significant legal or professional consequence. 

Now, a bill soon to be introduced in the South Australia Parliament–where euthanasia is always bubbling on the legislative stove–would permit people to be killed by doctors based on via instructions made, catch the irony, in a “living will.” From Adelaide Advertiser story:

State Labor backbencher Steph Key is working on new voluntary euthanasia legislation and will meet with interest groups at the end of this month. While she stressed she was still finalising her plans, Ms Key said she would prefer the option of voluntary euthanasia outlined in a living will, as is done in Belgium, to other models in places like Switzerland or Oregon in the US that require the patient to carry out or administer euthanasia themselves.

A living will allows a person to take control of end-of-life medical decisions by indicating if they would prefer or refuse treatment for future illnesses. Under Ms Key’s preferred model, a person would be able to state in a will that if they find themselves in “a situation where their life is intolerable in a medical sense then . . . they would like to follow through with the option of voluntary euthanasia. That doesn’t mean that you have to follow through with that necessarily or you can’t change your mind,” Ms Key said. However, she said the decision should be made before a person became too sick.

This is really insidious. Many people think they would rather die than experience a significant disability or cognitive impairment.  But when their worst fear take place, they may not feel that way at all.  But under this proposal, their no longer existing younger incarnation would be able to order their current self killed–and practically speaking, it wouldn’t really matter whether the to-be-killed person still wanted to die or not, especially if he or she couldn’t communicate well. And it would certainly open the door to putting grandma out of our or society’s financial misery.

People are so worried about becoming unloved burdens or being ill thought of if they experience a serious incapacity. Proposals like this tell them they are right.

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

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Political Clans Choose Public Life

Announcing that she has filed for divorce from her husband, Donald Trump Jr., Vanessa Trump wrote: “We ask for your privacy at this time.” That isn’t quite what she meant — apparently, nobody in the Trump family ever will speak English as fluently as Melania — but the sentiment was predictable enough. ... Read More


Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, everyone. Hope it has been a good one. Yesterday, I had a tale in my Impromptus column. I had been to Harvard, to conduct a couple of interviews, and I waxed nostalgic. In Widener Library, there are bag-checkers -- people checking your bags on your way out. Ages ago, there was this ... Read More

Two Truth-Tellers, Brave as Hell

Yesterday, the Human Rights Foundation hosted an event they called “PutinCon” -- a conference devoted to the Russian “president,” Vladimir Putin: his rise and his deeds, both at home and abroad. Participating were both Russians and well-wishing foreigners. It was, above all, a day of truth-telling -- a ... Read More


EMPIRICAL   As I can fathom neither endlessness nor the miracle work of deities, I hypothesize, assume, and guess.   The fact that I love you and you love me is all I can prove and proves me. — This poem appears in the April 2 print issue of National Review. Read More
Politics & Policy

Rolling Back Dodd-Frank

The Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would roll back parts of Dodd-Frank. The vote was 67–31, with 17 members of the Democratic caucus breaking party lines. If the legislation passes the House and is signed, it will be the largest change to the controversial financial-reform package since it became law in ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Samantha Power Regrets

‘I’ve had a lot of bad ideas in my life,” former U.N. ambassador Samantha Power tells Politico. “Though none as immortalized as that one.” Wow. It’s a major concession. And what might “that one” be? Not standing idly by in the White House while Iranians protested a fixed election in 2009, then ... Read More