The Corner

What If You Are Asked to Attend a Suicide?

With California–about 10% of the US population–about to allow assisted suicide and the Canadian Supreme Court imposing a nation-wide euthanasia right, you might find yourself asked to attend an assisted suicide or euthanasia.

I don’t think many people have considered this issue. They know it impacts people who are seriously ill or disabled. They know it impacts the medical profession. 

But few have pondered how it impacts society and legalization’s potential to corrode intra-family relationships. I explain in a piece on euthanasia in 2015 published by Human Life Review. From the piece:

Such an invitation would create a terrible conundrum for those who think medicalized killing is morally and medically wrong. If you attend, you are validating your loved one’s suicide and sending the unintentional message that “Yes, you are a burden. Your life is undignified and not worth living. Your family is better off with you dead.”

But refusing—at least in circumstances involving terminal illness or profound disability—could result in the loss of valued friendships, family estrangement, and accusations of cold-hearted moralistic judgmentalism (not to mention the guilt of being absent when a loved one dies).

If you get the call that grandma or Uncle Joe intends to die next Thursday, and wants you present when he expires by a lethal overdose or injection: What will you do? 

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