Compassion and Choices (formerly the Hemlock Society) has played a crafty game of pretense about the ultimate goals of its assisted suicide campaign. In debates (including those in which I have participated), in media interviews, in press releases, etc., its representatives have claimed that C and C wants only a very narrow legalization of “aid in dying,” and that to be under strict regulatory control to ensure against abuse.
Well, now that the drive to legalize assisted suicide has gained some traction, the ideological zeal of the group’s leadership has caused them to go off that carefully tailored script. Kathryn Tucker is the legal director of C and C who got a sympathetic judge to impose a state constitutional right to “die with dignity” on Montana. As I noted in the Weekly Standard–contrary to her assertions made in the story quoted below–the ruling is audaciously broad, to the point that it could be read as opening the door to near death on demand and a license for doctors to lethally inject patients. Nevertheless, Tucker is now on record against creating any regulations to govern assisted suicide in Montana in the wake of the court ruling. From the story:
Kathryn Tucker, a lawyer for Compassion and Choices, an advocacy group for what members prefer to call “death with dignity,” said lawmakers shouldn’t feel the need to pass any legislation. “There are some guidelines (in the ruling). It’s not a free-for-all,” she said.
The guidelines set in McCarter’s ruling mirror the “most significant” aspects of Oregon and Washington’s laws allowing physician-assisted suicide. There are extra restrictions in those states, but Tucker said those aren’t necessary. It’s very unusual that a physician would be governed by a statute telling them how the (sic) practice medicine,” she said. “Montana doesn’t need to import these laws.”
This kind of brazen two-faced advocacy epitomizes the C and C approach. Remember, this is the group behind AB 2747 in California, a statute that explicitly instructs doctors how to practice medicine by prescribing what they must tell patients diagnosed with one year or less to live! And in its original version, it required doctors to do in that regard whatever the patient instructed–such as sedate and dehydrate–or refer to a doctor who would.
Moreover, the laws she doesn’t want imported are the very laws C and C helped write and create–arguing all the while that such a careful and regulated approach was necessary to proper “aid in dying” practice to protect against abuse.
The reason Tucker, her boss Barbara Coombs Lee, and others in the movement can exhibit such chutzpah is that they know that ignorant or biased reporters won’t hold them to account for the paradoxes of their arguments. But they are letting the cat out of the bag as to their actual goals.
And that is good. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an honest debate about what the assisted suicide movement is really all about instead of this pretense of a limited safety valve for the terminally ill?