Human Exceptionalism

Forced Exit: No Conscientious Objection Allowed in the Culture of Death

The Swiss have overtaken the Dutch as the prime harbingers of things to come in the Culture of Death. As it grants individual intrinsic dignity to plants, its Supreme Court declared a constitutional right to assisted suicide for the mentally ill. Now, a debate is opening, the end point of which is to force all nursing homes and hospitals to permit assisted suicides to take place on premises. From the story:

In 2007 Exit carried out 245 assisted suicides by Swiss or foreign nationals living in Switzerland. Exit assists only Swiss residents and usually goes to them in their own homes.

But Lausanne and Geneva university hospitals and several nursing homes also allow assisted suicide on their premises. Out of the 66 assisted suicides in French-speaking Switzerland last year, five took place in old people’s homes.

Jérôme Sobel, president of Exit for French-speaking Switzerland, told Swissinfo that the five cases “took place normally”, but said some homes do not allow the practice at all or put up obstacles. The purpose of the initiative is to put pressure on them to ensure that terminally ill patients’ full rights are respected. “We have encountered major difficulties on several occasions,” he explained. “When we go to a nursing home to help someone there shouldn’t be a stand-off each time with the directors.”

Exit’s initiative asks for nursing homes receiving state subsidies to allow elderly residents to receive assistance to suicide if they request it, in accordance with article 115 of the Swiss Penal Code and article 34 of Vaud’s cantonal Penal Code. “When a nursing home stops us, they are contravening the law,” said Sobel. Exit has until February 3, 2009 to collect 12,000 signatures in canton Vaud to force a local vote on the issue.

That would make dissenting facilities complicit in suicide, of course, which is the point.

The Swiss proposal is not an isolated incident. As I wrote here at SHS and elsewhere, the last assisted suicide legislation in California, that did not pass, would also have required all health care facilities but acute care hospitals to permit assisted suicide on premises, with no exemption for religious or moral objection allowed, meaning that Catholic nursing homes (as but one example) would have been forced to permit their patients to be helped in suicide.

As the Culture of Death gains strength, expect more of this kind of coercion, an approach already occurring in other issues, both to ensure that all are complicit and to stifle the silent message of dissent that non cooperation with the agenda sends. The Culture of Death demands that obeisance from all.

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