Human Exceptionalism

The Great Assisted Suicide Political Con

Once a society accepts killing as an answer to human suffering, the caste of killables never stops expanding. Thus, in the Netherlands and Belgium, doctors not only euthanize the terminally ill, but also the elderly “tired of life,” the disabled, and the mentally ill.

American advocates respond to these facts on the ground–not a slippery slope argument–by arguing that we are different in the USA. After all, they note, those things are not happening in Oregon.

To which I always append the word, “yet.” 

You see, the American euthanasia movement is running a well thought out political con game.

Compassion and Choices and other assisted suicide advocacy groups are involved in the great majority of Oregon assisted suicides. Since the Oregon oversight system relies almost wholly on doctor self-reporting, we only see what they want us to see. And one thing they don’t want us to see–or to be put into law for now–is an expansion of killable categories. That would give away the game.

But, as the old saying goes, loose lips sink ships. One assisted suicide advocate almost blew this cover in an interview about an unsuccessful Oregon proposal to expand eligibility for legal assisted suicide in Oregon to Alzheimer’s patients. Note why an advocate opposed the proposal. From the Oregonian story:

The national Death with Dignity advocacy group joined the opposition. Steve Telfer, president of the board of the Portland-based Death with Dignity National Center, which helped create the original law, said politicians in Oregon shouldn’t try to expand the law because that effort could jeopardize attempts to introduce physician-assisted suicide to other states.

In other words, these suicide advocates don’t oppose expanding the law beyond the current limitations for principled reasons. Rather, restraint is a political tactic, a necessary temporary expedient deemed necessary to gain the trust of a very wary public.

When and if assisted suicide is legalized in more states, bet on the killable caste expanding here just as it has overseas. It’s the logical consequence of the euthanasia premise–and in their heart of hearts, the breadth of the medicalized killing license most assisted suicide advocates are really after.

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