The Corner

Culture

American Association of Suicidology Betrays Some Suicidal

Assisted suicide advocacy corrupts everything it touches; medical ethics, our views about the worth of the dying–even suicide prevention.

The latter corruption usually comes in suicide prevention campaigns that ignore assisted suicide advocacy as a cause of some suicides–I believe of some who are not ill as well as those who are.

But now, the American Association of Suicidology has ideologically determined that when a terminally ill person commits suicide with poison obtained from a doctor’s prescription, it isn’t really suicide.

The statement gets into different motivations and the like–all of which are highly debatable and refutable–but that would take pages.

So for here, I want to demonstrate how–a supposedly suicide prevention organization–seems to have begun the process of normalizing suicides of the ill and disabled. From its statement, “Suicide is not the Same as Physician Aid in Dying:”

Nor does the fact that suicide and PAD [physician aid in dying] are not the same indicate that some cases identified as suicides may not be deaths that have a great deal in common with PAD. especially those in which poor health is a precipitating factor.

Although such cases are typically labeled ‘suicide’ if the person initiated the causal process leading to death, medical conditions associated with suicide risk in potentially terminal illness—including (among the best studied) cancer, cardiovascular disease, COPD, Huntington’s, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s, renal disease, and Alzheimer’s—may arise from the motivation to avoid a protracted, debilitating, and potentially painful bad death.

Did you get that? Do you see the game that is afoot? 

The AAS statement is softening the ground for expanding supposedly not suicide “aid in dying” laws to include situations that “have a great deal in common with PAD,” e.g., people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and progressive conditions. 

Which makes sense since advocates never intended to limit assisted suicide to the terminally ill. Indeed, one of the contact persons on the statement, Margaret P. Battin, has been an advocate for “rational suicide” and euthanasia for decades. Frankly, she has as much business speaking for a suicide prevention organization as I do on behalf of a euthanasia advocacy group.

And get this:

While many forms of end-of-life care may be helpful, including palliative and hospice care, a patient’s choice of PAD that satisfies legal criteria is not an appropriate target for “suicide” prevention.

That’s an utter corruption of hospice philosophy! Indeed, the great Dame Cecily Saunders, who founded hospice, believed that suicide prevention was a key hospice service that protected the equal dignity of her patients.

Indeed, to assert that the dying (for now)–and eventually sick and disabled patients–don’t deserve the same life-protecting suicide prevention services as other suicidal people is a crass betrayal of those the AAS was created to serve and protect. Shame!

 

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