Human Exceptionalism

The Ugly Face of Assisted Suicide

There is a column in The Gurdian that illustrates vividly the ugly reality of assisted suicide. The writer Jon Ronson followed some suicide facilitators around, and found that their “compassion” leaves much to be desired. For example, Susan (a pseudonym), is trained by the euthanasia fanatic George Exoo to assist suicides and travels the world facilitating death. From the column:

Susan flew to New Zealand to help a depressed, non-terminally ill woman she had met on the internet commit suicide. The woman had previously asked a mainstream right-to-die group called Dignity NZ to help her, but they had refused.

“I was of the impression that she needed assistance in living rather than advice on how to end her life,” Dignity NZ’s founder, Lesley Martin, later explained to me in an email. She added, “I imagine you are developing a good understanding of what an absolute mess the euthanasia underground is. Unfortunately, there are ‘gung-ho’ individuals involved [she meant Susan] who, in my opinion, treat the matter of assisting someone to die as an exciting relief from the boredom of their own lives and do so completely ill-equipped and dismissive of the responsibility we have of ensuring that people who need mental health assistance receive it, while still working towards humane legislation that addresses the real issues.”
I visited Susan and asked her what had been wrong with the New Zealand woman. “She had some sort of breathing disorder,” she said, “and the doctors there wouldn’t give her the medication that she needed. I happened to take the same medication. I gave her a little bit of mine and she was fine.”
“But you helped her commit suicide, even though you helped her breathe better?” I asked. “Yeah,” said Susan. “Isn’t that ironic?”

“You shouldn’t do it,” I said. “Somebody’s got to pay the bills so you can have some water in that glass you’re drinking,” she said.

Before you say, “Tut, tut,” Wesley: The Susan’s are the reason we need legal assisted suicide,” realize that money aside, euthanasia fanatics believe that people should be able to receive help any time they want to die–and for any reason. Think, Philip Nitschke. Think Dignitas, the Swiss suicide facilitating organization and that country’s Supreme Court decision granting the mentally ill a right to assisted suicide. Think Jack Kevorkian and wide public support even though five of his victims were not even ill and most were certainly not dying. Think about the poor depressed man Gene, partially disabled by a stroke, who was literally murdered by a Hemlock Society suicide facilitator as reported by the pro assisted suicide author Lonny Shavelson in A Chosen Death. who, it should always be noted, just sat and watched the killing even though he could have saved Gene’s life. From the book pp. 93-94:

“Stop Sarah,” raced through my mind. For whose sake, I thought–Gene’s, so intent on killing himself? The weight of unanswered questions kept me glued to my corner. Was Gene’s decision for death so wrong? Was this a suicide, Gene’s right finally to succeed and die? Or was this a needless death encouraged by Sarah’s desire to act? had Gene’s decision to have me there, to tell me his story, given me the right to to stop what was happening–or, equally powerful, the responsibility not to interfere? Or, was I obliged, my by very presence as a fellow human being, to jump up and stop the craziness? Was it craziness?

Events suddenly moved faster than my thoughts. Gene’s body heaved up and his cry filled the room, “It’s cold,” he screamed, and his good hand flew up to tear the plastic bag [off his head]. Sarah’s hand caught Gene’s at the wrist and held it. His body thrust upwards. She pulled his arm away and lay across Gene’s shoulders. Sarah rocked back and forth, pinning him down, her fingers twisting the bag to seal it tight at his neck as she repeated, “The light, Gene, go toward the light. Gene’s body pushed against Sarah’s. Then he stopped moving.

This is where the ideology of the movement–radical individualism and the acceptability of killing as an answer to human suffering, mixed with terminal nonjudgmentalism–ultimately leads: Death on demand, moral paralysis, and the subversion of common human decency.