Human Exceptionalism

To Heck With Democracy! Let Judges Impose Assisted Suicide

The assisted suicide movement doesn’t give a fig about consistency. If people attack legalized suicide, they pound the podium and assert that we must respect state’s rights.  But when states refuse to legalize assisted suicide–as in Montana–they file lawsuits hoping an activist judge will find a heretofore unheard of “right” to assisted suicide.

First came an attempt to impose assisted suicide nationally via U.S. Supreme Court fiat. That failed 9-0. Then, Florida, where the court also said no. Ditto, California and Alaska.  Finally, pay dirt in Montana.  And now, even though Connecticut got nowhere in the last legislative session in an attempt to legalize assisted suicide, the usual suspects want a judge to “interpret” the law to permit doctors to help kill patients.  From the story:

Two Fairfield County doctors are asking the Connecticut courts to clarify a 40-year-old law in a way that would prevent physicians from being prosecuted for prescribing drugs to end a person’s life. Attorneys for the doctors, Gary Blick of Norwalk and Ronald Levine of Greenwich, are seeking a ruling on the current law that says a person is guilty of second-degree manslaughter if “he intentionally causes or aids another person, other than force, duress or deception, to commit suicide.” They want to ensure that the provision would not apply to licensed physicians who prescribe drugs for mentally competent, terminally ill patients. “Obviously, the crux of this case is what is suicide and what is aid in dying,” said Kathryn Tucker, an attorney who for the doctors and legal director for Compassion & Choices. She called the issue “a case of first impression,” one that has not been decided by the courts.

It’s really not hard: Suicide is knowingly taking action to kill yourself, in this case, taking an overdose of drugs with the intent to die. Assisted suicide is providing the means or otherwise assisting that action, in this case, prescribing sufficient drugs to kill the patient in the knowledge that suicide is the patient’s intent.  It isn’t prescribing drugs for a legitimate medical purpose, such as treating pain.

“Aid in dying” is just a gobbledygook euphemistic advocacy term that pretends terminally ill people can’t commit suicide. In other words, it is postmodernism run amok in that it would disregard facts and sacrifice accurate definitions on the altar of personal narrative.  So, if I give someone dying of cancer a gun, load it, cock it, and help them point it at their head knowing they will pull the trigger, I have only aided in their dying?  That’s nuts.  People like Tucker will say, but that’s violent, so it is suicide.  Baloney.  The principle doesn’t change if a doctor is prescribing a poisonous overdose or I am helping someone shoot themselves.

This should be a slam-dunk.  Alas, with judges today, you never know what will happen.  After all, there is no power or fame in refusing to impose your policy views in culture-changing controversy. Sometimes I wonder why we even bother with legislatures when we have judicial overseers who can transform advocacy lexicon into legal rights.

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