Human Exceptionalism

Coming Swiss Suicide Right for the Healthy?

Society’s acceptance of assisted suicide’s ideology eventually will lead, I predict, to a right to help being made dead for any adult with more than a transitory desire to die–and for any reason. After all, assisted suicide ideology couples radical personal autonomy and total body ownership with a view that killing is an acceptable answer to suffering. Moreover,”suffering” is seen as an entirely subjective concept, meaning it is whatever the sufferer says it is. No judgment allowed.

That being so, how can a “right to be made dead” be limited to the terminally ill, the catastrophically disabled, or indeed, even those experiencing measurable physical symptoms? It can’t. Thus, in Belgium, we have seen a joint euthanasia of an elderly couple who didn’t want to be separated. Ditto, Switzerland. In the Netherlands, a growing number of people with mental illnesses and the aged “tired of life” are being voluntarily killed or assisted in suicide by doctors. Indeed, Netherlander doctors are allowed by an ethics opinion from the Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) to teach patients, who are not legally qualified for euthanasia, how to do the deed themselves!

In Switzerland, a healthy woman who didn’t want to experience the decline of aging but was actually denied assisted suicide, has sued, claiming a doctor should be forced to prescribe for her. The court didn’t do that, but it has ordered the country to create more clarity in its laws about who has the legal right to help being made dead. From the Washington Post story:

The vagueness of Swiss laws “concerning a particularly important aspect of her life was likely to have caused Ms. Gross a considerable degree of anguish,” the court found. And while Swiss laws allow for the possibility of obtaining a lethal dose of a drug on medical prescription, it added, those laws “did not provide sufficient guidelines ensuring clarity as to the extent of this right.”

Note: The absence of clear guidelines was seen as a cause of anguish. That point could easily be read to mean, not having access to suicide itself is an unacceptable cause of suffering–particularly as many non terminally ill people commit assisted suicide at the Swiss clinics already.

If history is any guide, the legal “clarity” will move Switzerland toward even greater ease in accessing assisted suicide than already exists–perhaps even for the unquestionably healthy:

The court said it recognized the issue is a difficult one, but that more specific Swiss laws would help doctors make better informed decisions free of fear of litigation or bad publicity. The Swiss government said in 2010 that sodium pentobarbital could be used in exceptional cases for severe psychological illness.

A year later, the Swiss government dropped plans to impose stricter rules regarding “passive assisted suicide.” The government said the current rules strike a balance between protecting vulnerable individuals and safeguarding their right to self-determination, and new laws could infringe on people’s personal freedoms.

Note where the focus lies–on the first pillar of assisted suicide advocacy. Thus, even though the court didn’t say that Switzerland had to liberalize the law, that is what I predict law makers will do, rather than impose any meaningful restrictions. More liberality equals less protection, equals another big step toward death-on-demand. But that’s what happens in a culture of death. 

Most Popular

Elections

How Can Bernie Sanders Happen in America?

A number of pundits have recently argued that younger voters, especially those under 30, are less inclined to be bothered when they hear the word “socialism,” since they have no firsthand memory of the Cold War. To some extent, this must be true. Those who weren’t alive during socialism’s cruelest ... Read More
Elections

How Can Bernie Sanders Happen in America?

A number of pundits have recently argued that younger voters, especially those under 30, are less inclined to be bothered when they hear the word “socialism,” since they have no firsthand memory of the Cold War. To some extent, this must be true. Those who weren’t alive during socialism’s cruelest ... Read More
Elections

The Highest-Stakes Moment Brings the Worst Debate

Tonight’s debate would have been only marginally less incoherent, noisy, and grating to the ears if CBS had broadcast two hours of static. The last debate before the South Carolina primary featured so much shouting, you would think that the candidates had just been told their microphones weren’t working. ... Read More
Elections

The Highest-Stakes Moment Brings the Worst Debate

Tonight’s debate would have been only marginally less incoherent, noisy, and grating to the ears if CBS had broadcast two hours of static. The last debate before the South Carolina primary featured so much shouting, you would think that the candidates had just been told their microphones weren’t working. ... Read More
Media

‘Undiagnosed Sociopath’

As we abandon moral language for clinical language, we run into technical difficulties. Writing in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman describes the 2020 presidential election as one that may be a contest between “a self-proclaimed socialist and an undiagnosed sociopath.” There is no such thing as an ... Read More
Media

‘Undiagnosed Sociopath’

As we abandon moral language for clinical language, we run into technical difficulties. Writing in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman describes the 2020 presidential election as one that may be a contest between “a self-proclaimed socialist and an undiagnosed sociopath.” There is no such thing as an ... Read More