The Corner

Catastrophe: Jerry Brown Signs Assisted Suicide into Law

Jerry Brown has signed assisted suicide into law.

In his short letter, he explained why he signed this radical shift in the ethics of medicine and health-care policy into law — because in the end, it was all about him.

Brown worries about what he would do “if dying in prolonged and excruciating pain,” and says he would find “comfort” in knowing the option of assisted suicide was available. That others will be hurt by this doesn’t matter a whit.

Besides, that’s a false premise — as almost no assisted suicides are committed because of pain.

But I have long ago learned that this issue is not about facts and reason, but emotion.

And he damns hospice and palliative care with nary a mention. 

This is a catastrophe of known and unknown dimensions.

  • People will die sooner than they would have — and indeed, some may die when they would have lived.
  • Our culture has taken a huge leap into the death-culture abyss.
  • Health care will be affected, given that assisted suicide is a splendid method of cost containment.
  • Families will feel pressured to sanction their loved ones’ suicides.
  • People with serious health issues and disabilities will be seen as having less intrinsic value than those who will receive suicide prevention instead of facilitation.

It is now up to doctors and pharmacists to refuse cooperation with the law. Doctors should declare themselves “assisted-suicide-free zones,” and pharmacists should refuse to fill prescriptions intended to kill.

More than 10 percent of the country now live in states with legal assisted suicide. If the society accepts the premise that killing is an acceptable answer to human suffering, we will go the way of Belgium and Netherlands.

I am reminded — again — of the quote from Canadian journalist Andrew Coyne, in the face of the popularity in his country of a man who killed his twelve-year-old daughter because she had cerebral palsy. 

“A society that believes in nothing can offer no argument even against death. A culture that has lost its faith in life cannot comprehend why it should be endured.”

Most Popular

U.S.

Americans Are Royally Confused about Monarchy

Conventional wisdom regarding America’s relationship with royalty goes something like this: Americans have no time for monarchy as a political concept but can’t get enough of the British royal family. The American media’s round-the-clock coverage of the recent royal wedding certainly seems ample evidence of ... Read More
Elections

The Trump Rationale

Why exactly did nearly half the country vote for Donald Trump? Why also did the arguments of Never Trump Republicans and conservatives have marginal effect on voters? Despite vehement denunciations of the Trump candidacy from many pundits on the right and in the media, Trump nonetheless got about the same ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Collapse of the Collusion Narrative

It is now clear that Russian attempts at interference in the 2016 election, though somewhat outrageous, were ineffectual, unconnected with any particular party, a small effort given what a country of Russia’s resources and taste for political skullduggery and chicanery is capable of, and minor compared with the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Trump’s Superpower

President Trump has a magic power. No, it isn’t the ability to engage in four-dimensional chess, or even to mystically connect with the “common man.” It’s simply this: He can make Democrats defend anything. Democrats have increasingly defined themselves by opposing anything Trump does. Trump, unlike ... Read More