Human Exceptionalism

It’s a Kevorkian World

In the midst of the Brittany Maynard media mania, it struck me how prophetic Jack Kevorkian was about how deeply the culture of death would subsume the culture of the West. So, I took to the pages of the Weekly Standard to issue a storm warming. From, “Kevorkian’s Vision:”

The last time the media swarmed so feverishly in favor of assisted suicide was when they touted Jack Kevorkian’s defiant assisted suicide campaign in the 1990s. As they later would with Maynard, the media substituted intense emotionalism for reporting and analysis, focusing almost exclusively on the suffering of those who wanted to die rather than the radical societal changes Kevorkian hoped his death campaign would bring about.

Kevorkian is dead, but the policies he advocated are becoming reality​—​one bit here, another bit there—​throughout much of the West.

I go through an alarming and depressing litany. Here’s a sampling:

The list of Kevorkian proposals being implemented or proposed as a means of “death with dignity” could go on and on:

Kevorkian wrote in the journal Medicine and Law (1986) that laymen should be permitted to assist suicides. Today, Scotland’s pending assisted suicide legislation proposes the creation of a new profession—the “licensed suicide facilitator”​—​who would be permitted to assist suicides of those found medically eligible by a doctor.

Kevorkian argued that euthanasia should be available to babies and children. In the Netherlands, terminally ill and seriously disabled infants are euthanized under what is known as the Groningen Protocol, while Belgium recently legalized assisted suicide for children with no age restrictions.

Kevorkian believed that the bodies of those being euthanized should be used for society’s benefit. He even removed the kidneys of ex-policeman Joseph Tushkowski​—​a quadriplegic he assisted in suicide​—​offering them at a press conference, “First come, first served.” Belgium now couples euthanasia with organ harvesting. Doctors there have even held seminars urging that patients with neuromuscular disabilities should be considered prime candidates because they have “good organs.” The Netherlands is now drawing up regulations to do likewise.

Kevorkian proposed setting up regional death centers to make the “service” more accessible. In the Netherlands, doctors make euthanasia house calls while mobile euthanasia clinics travel to nursing homes and elsewhere, to facilitate suicides in cases where personal doctors refuse euthanasia requests.

There are more examples, of course, but I’ll let you read the piece.

We are becoming a Kevorkian world. We don’t have to, it’s not too late not to–but unless we stop slouching toward indifference and succumbing to emotional bludgeoning, Kevorkian will be the face you see in the mirror.

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