Human Exceptionalism

Assisted Suicide Advocates Factually Challenged About Senate Hearing

It was brought to my attention that the euphemistically named Compassion and Choices (formerly, the Hemlock Society), has a notice on its WEB site about yesterday’s committee hearing that is pure baloney. The note states, “Witnesses called by the majority talked about the Netherlands and did not attempt to denigrate the Oregon experience. Compassion & Choices’ witnesses performed like ROCK STARS. Julie McMurchie, Ann Jackson and Kathryn Tucker all presented strong, fact-filled testimony that was not challenged.”

Whether they performed like rock stars, one could say, is in the ear of the listener. But the assertion that none of us tried to “denigrate the Oregon experience” or failed to challenge Tucker’s, assertions, is plainly not true. Rita Marker’s testimony was all about Oregon. And I weighed in also during the question and answer portion of the hearing. I pointed out that the law permits suicidal patients to go “doctor shopping” when their personal physicians refuse to assist their suicides. These patients often end up with a doctor referred by assisted suicide advocates and that some knew their death doctors two weeks or less before dying by lethal overdose. I called this rank “Kevorkianism.” I also emphasized that the statistics reported by Oregon are unreliable because the state depends on death doctor self-reporting–without engaging in any independent oversight–a point picked up in this AP story about the hearing.

The moral of the story? When assisted suicide advocates make supposed factual assertions, take it with a grain of salt the size of a granite boulder.