Human Exceptionalism

Pushing Validated Suicide in Palliative Care Journal

Well, this is shameful.

Palliative care isn’t the same thing at all as assisting suicide. Yet, the Journal of Palliative Care has an article by assisted suicide promoters on the “clinical criteria” for a doctor prescribing poison to a patient.

Talk about mutating hospice into hemlock!

And get this, the article, by three prominent academic bioethicists, promotes what I call “validated suicide.” From the article:

It usually is a good idea for family members or friends to be with the patient at the time of ingestion to provide comfort. Indeed, a gathering of family and friends can be a rich experience for all.

No, it is a very bad idea. As I noted here, agreeing to attend such gatherings send an unintentional but insidious message:

Supporting another’s self-destruction is not a compassionate—or morally neutral—act. To the contrary, attending a suicide sends an unintentional but clear message to the suicidal person: Yes, your life is no longer worth living; you are a burden; you are better off dead (and we’re better off with you dead, too).

Be that as it may, dear readers, you may one day be asked to RSVP to a suicide going away party. I suggest:

If you ever receive such an invitation, send your unequivocal refusal and offer to help the sufferer find a better way forward. That kind of compassionate engagement and noncooperation with the culture of death will come at some risk.

But saying no will protect you from moral complicity in a death—and it could be the act that dissuades your loved one from taking a terrible and irrevocable course.

Sigh. Maybe I’m just a moral atavist. But attending a suicide has enormous moral consequences, and could be the difference between someone not doing the deed and thinking the time really has come to go.

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