Human Exceptionalism

“The Assisted Suicide Movement Sheds Its Fig Leaf”

Last week I posted here at SHS about an opinion column in the Hastings Center Report urging that assisted suicide be made available to some mentally ill people. I expound on that issue in greater length and detail in this piece published today in the Daily Standard. I conclude:

With the truth now clearly in view, the time has come to have real debate about the so-called right to die. This debate should not pretend that the practice will be limited and rare and it should fully address the societal implications of transforming assisted suicide into a mere medical treatment.

So, let’s argue openly and frankly about the wisdom of permitting near death-on-demand as a method of ending serious and persistent suffering. Let’s discuss whether “choice” and “individual autonomy” requires that we permit licensed and regulated euthanasia clinics to serve anyone who has made an irrevocable decision to die.

Indeed, let’s argue whether or not society owes a duty of prevention to the self-destructive who are not acting on mere impulse. But finally, let’s stop pretending that assisted suicide legalization would be just a tiny alteration in public policy restricted only to the terminally ill. That clearly isn’t true.