Human Exceptionalism

Swiss Assisted Suicide Group Apparently to Help Based on Old Age

Once one accepts the premise that suicide is an acceptable answer to the problems of human suffering and ennui, there are no boundaries that will hold for long. Example: EXIT is apparently getting ready to assist the suicides of elderly people who are tired of living–announced by an assisted suicide listserve:

‘TIRED OF OLD AGE’ IS A CONSIDERATION The annual conference and general membership meeting of the highly respected Swiss-German EXIT organisation (50,000members, who all must be residents of Switzerland) at this years meeting in Zurich 26 April 2008, adopted with overwhelming majority a resolution which requires the organisation at its 2009 meeting, to take a vote on whether their statutes shall be amended to add “being tired of old-age” to the prevailing EXIT eligibility criteria for offering members end of life assistance.(Source: Summary of the Minutes of the 26 April 2008 General Membership Meeting, pages 18-19 of the organisations EXIT INFO publication, Issue 2, 2008.)

This isn’t an outrider. Back in 2001, the Dutch Minster of Health suggested that elderly people who are tired of life be given suicide pills–right after her country formally legalized euthanasia. From the story:

Elderly people who are “tired of life” should be allowed to kill themselves with a suicide pill, the Dutch health minister has said. “I am not against it, as long as it can be carefully enough regulated so that it only concerns very old people who have had enough of living,” Els Borst told the NRC Handelsblad newspaper on Saturday. Borst said a suicide pill should only be permitted, however, if the person administered it themselves and there was a test to ensure they really were tired of life and desperate to die, she said.

Slippery slope? What slippery slope?