Human Exceptionalism

More Ugly Truths About Assisted Suicide

A Swiss assisted suicide organization called Dignitas has helped a depressed woman kill herself in Germany. True, the woman presented a fake medical report, stating she was very ill. But the head of Dignitas said it didn’t matter since, “in any case every person in Europe has the right to choose to die, even if they are not terminally ill.” (As a result of the suicide, the Swiss doctor who prescribed the pills based on a faked medical report also killed himself.)

This is reminiscent of Dr. Philip Nitschke in Australia counseling a “terminally ill” woman named Nancy Crick about how to go about committing suicide. (Assisted suicide advocates who were present clapped when she swallowed the poison pills.) But when it was discovered upon autopsy that Crick was not actually dying, Nitschke said he’d known it all the time and shrugged it off: She wanted to die, he sniffed, so no big deal.

These stories tell us many things about assisted suicide, but I will only mention two here: First, assisted suicide isn’t a medical act. Dignitas is not operated by doctors. Indeed, under Swiss law, doctors are not permitted to assist suicides in their professional capacities.

Second,assisted suicide is ultimately, about death on demand. After all, if assisted suicide is about honoring “choice” and “ending suffering,” how can it be limited to the dying? As these two examples, and the broader cases among the Dutch and Belgians have clearly shown, it won’t be. Restricting hastened death to the dying is just a political tool to get people used killing as an acceptable response to illness or one of life’s other serious difficulties.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

Most Popular

U.S.

Confirm Pompeo

What on earth are the Democrats doing? President Trump has nominated CIA director Mike Pompeo, eminently qualified by any reasonable standard, to be America’s 70th secretary of state. And yet the Senate Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer, have perverted the advice and consent clause of the Constitution into a ... Read More
Culture

The Mournful, Magnificent Sally Mann

‘Does the earth remember?" The infinitely gifted photographer Sally Mann asks this question in the catalogue of her great retrospective at the National Gallery in Washington. On view there is her series of Civil War battlefield landscapes, among the most ravishing works of art from the early 2000s. Once sites ... Read More
PC Culture

People Are Losing Their Minds Over Starbucks

We can all easily imagine circumstances in which a manager of a coffee shop or restaurant might properly call the police to ask them to remove loiterers. These are places of business. There’s nothing wrong in principle with calling the cops on non-customers who are taking up space. And there’s nothing wrong ... Read More
PC Culture

The Dark Side of the Starbucks Stand-Down

By now the story is all over America. Earlier this month, two black men entered a Starbucks store in Philadelphia. They were apparently waiting for a friend before ordering — the kind of thing people do every day — and one of the men asked to use the restroom. A Starbucks employee refused, saying the restroom ... Read More
World

Save the Eighth

There are many things to admire in Ireland’s written constitution. Most especially, the text includes, since a popular referendum in 1983, the Eighth Amendment: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to ... Read More
White House

The Comey & Mueller Show

It has been a good week for President Trump. Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz provided indisputable evidence that former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe lied at least four key times and was fired by the attorney general for cause -- and that Mr. Trump had nothing to do with it. McCabe and ... Read More