Human Exceptionalism

Old or Sick People Starve Yourselves!

Is there no end to the fixation on getting people dead? Now, in the Journal of Medical Ethics, the publication that brought us “after-birth abortion,” comes Julian Savulesu–aka Peter Singer, squared–arguing that doctors should help suicidal patients starve themselves to death. From, “A Simple Solution to the Puzzles of End of Life–Voluntary Palliated Starvation:”

Should people be assisted to die or be given euthanasia when they are suffering from terminal medical conditions? Should they be assisted to die when they are suffering but do not have a ‘diagnosable medical illness?’ What about assisted dying for psychiatric conditions? And is there a difference morally between assisted suicide, voluntary active euthanasia and voluntary passive euthanasia?…

I will argue that there is, within current medical ethics and human rights, a method of assisted suicide which could fall within the limits of the law.

By which he means voluntary self starvation–also pushed in the euthanasia movement as VSED (voluntary stop eating and drinking).

Understand, Savulescu is not talking about those situations in which an elderly or dying person’s body starts to shut down and they reject food and water as a natural part of the dying process. In such cases, it would be wrong to force nutrition on the patient because it will do no physiological good. Indeed, it would cause harm and is not medically indicated.

What about people who refuse food and water as a way of killing themselves? The law generally states that as a general principle (outside of prison), doctors cannot force feed those refusing food because that would be compelling them to receive medical treatment they do not want.  

Whatever the merits and demerits of that view, not allowing forced feeding doesn’t mean that doctors should help people kill themselves via starvation/dehydration by providing medical treatment making the process less onerous, thereby making it less likely that the patient will his or her mind. That’s facilitation any way you look at it.

Claiming that assisting people starve themselves to death isn’t assisting suicide is pure sophistry. Or to put it another way: What do they call assisted suicide in slow motion? Answer: Assisted suicide. 

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Making Sense of the Iran Chaos

One would prefer that correct decisions be made according to careful, deliberate plan. But a correct decision made impulsively, through a troubling process, is still nonetheless correct, and so it is with Donald Trump’s decision to refrain from military action against Iran. The proposed strike would represent a ... Read More
U.S.

In Defense of Coleman Hughes

Picture the scene: A young man walks into a congressional hearing to offer witness testimony. His grandfather was barbarically brutalized by people who are now long dead. The nation in which he resides built its wealth of his grandfather’s brutalization. The question: Should his fellow citizens pay the young ... Read More
Education

College Leaders Should Learn from Oberlin

Thanks to their social-justice warrior mindset, the leaders of Oberlin College have caused an Ohio jury to hit it with $44 million in compensatory and punitive damages in a case where the school couldn't resist the urge to side with its “woke” students against a local business. College leaders should learn ... Read More
Elections

Joe and the Segs

Joe Biden has stepped in it, good and deep. Biden, if he has any hope of ever being elected president, will be dependent on residual goodwill among African Americans from his time as Barack Obama’s loyal and deferential vice president — so deferential, in fact, that he stood aside for Herself in 2016 even ... Read More
Film & TV

Toy Story 4: A National Anthem

The Toy Story franchise is the closest thing we have to an undisputed national anthem, a popular belief that celebrates what we think we all stand for — cooperation, ingenuity, and simple values, such as perpetual hope. This fact of our infantile, desensitized culture became apparent back in 2010 when I took a ... Read More