Human Exceptionalism

“Studied Neutrality” on Assisted Suicide

The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Physicians has gone “neutral” on assisted suicide. And, it has bought into the propaganda that assisted suicide should be called “physician assisted death” (PAD). (Mustn’t let doctors face the fact they would be helping to kill patients, an explicit violation of the Hippocratic Oath.) In its position statement it published a series of steps that should be taken when patients ask for assisted suicide, er physician assisted death. These steps are important, indeed crucial in such circumstances. But to think that once assisted suicide is legalized such rigorous actions will be taken is to be almost willfully naive. Indeed, Oregon law does not require these measures, nor do the bills currently pending in California and Vermont.

You can read the whole statement, which is linked above. And here’s the “studied neutrality” part: “Despite all potential alternatives, some patients may persist in their request specifically for PAD. The AAHPM recognizes that deep disagreement persists regarding the morality of PAD. Sincere, compassionate, morally conscientious individuals stand on either side of this debate. AAHPM takes a position of “studied neutrality” on the subject of whether PAD should be legally regulated or prohibited, believing its members should instead continue to strive to find the proper response to those patients whose suffering becomes intolerable despite the best possible palliative care. Whether or not legalization occurs, AAHPM supports intense efforts to alleviate suffering and to reduce any perceived need for PAD.”

What an utter abdication of professional responsibility. Assisted suicide is controversial, which is precisely why the guidance of the Academy on this crucial matter is needed. After all, what good is a position paper about uncontroversial matters? That takes no courage or leadership, which is precisely the qualities shown by the AAHPM.

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