Human Exceptionalism

Another Victim of Our Growing Suicide Culture

Philip Nitschke is a hero of the assisted suicide movement and a strident advocate for unlimited suicide on demand. (All of you culture of death fans out there, don’t deny it: He’s always a star attraction at euthanasia conventions.) Toward that end, he spends his days creating suicide concoctions (the so-called peaceful pill), holding how-to-commit suicide workshops, and writing instructions that teach the depressed how to make themselves dead. Recently, a mentally ill woman, mother of 4, took his advice and used his book to end her life. From the story:

Three sisters of Erin Berg, a 39-year-old mother of four who committed suicide in Mexico after being discharged from a Perth mental health unit, met the minister this week to discuss a series of systemic failures they say helped to cause their sister’s suicide.

They allege that all facilities treating Berg knew of her detailed suicide plans but failed to act to protect her, and failed to pass on vital information to family members.

Berg, who was suffering post-natal depression, died on May 10 after flying to the US-Mexican border town of Tijuana to buy Nembutal, a drug recommended by pro-euthanasia doctor Philip Nitschke as offering “a fast, peaceful and pain-free death”.

“It was a tragic case and I think I’ve now got a good understanding of what transpired,” Mr McGinty told The Australian after a meeting with Berg’s sisters. “The case has raised a number of very fundamental issues relating to patient privacy and the circumstances when that ought to be breached.”

Assisted suicide advocates say that if only we would legalize assisted suicide for the few, these kind of deaths could be avoided because the killing would be regulated and there would be transparency.

The opposite is true. Once we legalize assisted suicide, we turn killing as an answer to the problems of human suffering into a norm and the swath grows. Case in point: The Netherlands has the world’s most liberal euthanasia law and it that is still not enough. As I reported earlier here at SHS, doctors have put how to commit suicide information on the Web (called “auto euthanasia”) and direct their otherwise unqualified patients for euthanasia to the site so they can take their own lives.

Can we say, “culture of death?”