Assisted suicide advocates pretend that they support hospice, but their work undermines the entire concept, or at least, twists it into something that would be unrecognizable by its creator, Dame Cecily Saunders. But now a lawyer named Michael Kaminkow, who is defending two of the Final Exit Network assisted suicide defendants, has gone so far as to slander hospice. From the story:
“Whatever happened here is no more than what happened in a hospice,” said Michael Kaminkow, an attorney representing two of the network members arrested Wednesday. “In reality, a hospice is a suicide. It’s just a little slower.”
Shame on Kaminkow. First, hospice isn’t about causing life to end. It is about alleviating suffering and promoting human community and dignity for people with terminal illnesses and their families. Second, in 1997 the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that refusing unwanted life-sustaining medical treatment, which is part of the hospice program, is not the same thing as suicide or assisted suicide. Third, sometimes people in hospice don’t die, but get better. Finally, the man who his clients are accused of assisting in suicide was not terminally ill. He had previously had jaw cancer, but he had not experienced a recurrence of the disease.
Perhaps this is ignorance talking. But it is a cruel ignorance.