Just as during the Kevorkian saga, some have claimed that the “cure” for “suicide tourism”–in which dying and disabled people fly to Switzerland to be made dead–has been legalization of assisted suicide. And just as in Kevorkian’s day, family members and others have gone public, using their pain as a political weapon to demand that suicide killings of the ill and disabled be made easier so that family and friends can attend the demise in the suicidal person’s home, rather than forcing the soon-t0-be dead patient to travel elsewhere to find someone willing to give them the poison cup. But PM Gordon Brown is unbowed. From the story:
Gordon Brown has made clear the government has no intention of legalising assisted suicide. The prime minister said he was “totally against laws on that [issue]” in an interview with the leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, for the Today programme.
“It’s not really for us to create any legislation that would put pressure on people to feel they had to offer themselves because they were causing trouble to a relative or anything else,” he said on the Today programme.
“I think we’ve got to make it absolutely clear the importance of human life is recognised in this.”
Good for Gordon Brown. He’s not only right morally, but it is the right policy. If society doesn’t value everyone’s life equally, the result will be discrimination and oppression–as in the Netherlands where doctors kill hundreds of patients every year who have never asked to be legalized. Moreover, legalizing assisted suicide for the terminally ill–the first stop on that particular train–would not stop suicide tourism. Many of those who go to Switzerland to die are not terminally ill. Hence, once it became legal for one category of patients to receive assisted suicide, once society deemed suicide to be a necessity in some cases, the same whipsawing would take place to force society to expand the law to permit others to be killed.
The best way to stop suicide tourism is for family members and society to refuse to accommodate the desire by compassionately and lovingly help the patient search for another way of dealing with their pain and disapproving of actions that cooperate with the death circus. Acceding to the culture of death merely whets its appetite.