Human Exceptionalism

The Collatoral Damage From Suicide Advocacy

We are quickly becoming a pro-suicide culture–indeed to the point now that organizations like the Hemlock Society Compassion and Choices, bioethicists, and the mainstream media promote suicide by self-starvation as the new big thing in making oneself dead.

Philip Nitschke is one of the international rock stars of euthanasia advocacy. He is also its most candid. He believes that everyone owns their own body absolutely and thus have a right to suicide whenever they want and for whatever reason. Indeed, he told NRO’s Kathryn Lopez that suicide pills should even be made available to “troubled teens.”

I clashed with Nitschke in Australia when I traveled the country on an anti-euthanasia tour in 2001. First, I busted him for the above assertion. It created a media fire storm.

While there, I also made front page news by revealing that he was importing and distributing suicide bags. I am proud to say, my effort led to the passage of a law that forced Nitschke to move his suicide industry offshore. It was one of my most successful public advocacy campaigns. 

Now, Aussie medical authorities want him struck off as a doctor because of the suicide of a healthy but depressed man which he facilitated. What. Took. Them. So. Long?

As for troubled teens and other young people, a study showed that many used his favorite method of suicide–and Nitschke doesn’t care. From a column by anti-euthanasia campaigner Paul Russell:

It is this supposed right-to-die that is the false over-arching philosophy by which the death of a young person can be somehow ‘rationalised’ by Nitschke and Exit. In 2010, in response to a Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine Report showing that two thirds of deaths in the preceding decade using the Exit drug-of-choice, Nembutal, were for people under the age of 50 with nearly one-third being younger than 40 and six being in their 20s,

Nitschke said: ”There will be some casualties … but this has to be balanced with the growing pool of older people who feel immense wellbeing from having access to this information.” Tell that to the families of the two men featured in the 7:30 Report! Suicide prevention should never accept the notion of acceptable casualties!

Nitschke just oozes compassion,doesn’t he?

But it isn’t just Nitschke. All suicide promoters know–or should know–that their work will lead to the suicides of some people who are not the prime targets of their advocacy. And they don’t care.

For example, Derek Humphry’s New York Times best selling how-to-commit-suicide book Final Exit–what does that tell you about our degrading culture!–has been found next to the dead bodies of troubled teens, and he could not care much less.

Compassion and Choices pushes self-starvation for people tired of life, not just the sick.

In Belgium elderly couples receive joint euthanasia and a psychiatric patient sexually exploited by her psychiatrist was killed by another psychiatrist. And the world shrugs its shoulders.

Most assisted suicide promoters know that there will be deadly consequences from their advocacy–I mean beyond the suicides they support, and it doesn’t matter. They want what they want and don’t care who gets hurt.

The rest of us should care, but increasingly, we don’t. Why? As I wrote above, we are quickly becoming a pro-suicide culture.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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