Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Washington State Assisted Suicide Campaign Begins

Booth Gardner, former governor of Washington and a very rich man, intends to buy a law for Washington legalizing assisted suicide. His opening salvo comes in an extended piece in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine. The piece is actually suprisingly fair, so fair in fact, that Gardner may not be amused.

There isn't space in a blog to fully describe the piece. So, let's just focus on two things. First, this is an "I-I," "me-me" agenda of the elites and Establishment-types like Gardner. As he states in the piece:

"Why do this?" he asked, turning from the other tables toward me. "I want to be involved in public life. I was looking for an issue, and this one fell in my lap. One advantage I have in this thing is that people like me. "The other"--his leprechaun eyes lost their glint; his fleshy cheeks seemed to harden, his lips to thin, his face to reshape itself almost into a square--"is that my logic is impeccable. My life, my death, my control."
The potential for--and abuses that are actually happening--from legalized assisted suicide are well documented. But advocates like Gardner willfully ignore that part of the story. Bluntly stated, they want what they want for themselves and don't care who gets hurt.

Second, the "my death, my life, my control" ideological agenda has nothing to do with terminal illness. If that is the cause, why not guarantee anyone with a non transitory desire to kill themselves access to assisted suicide? And indeed, Gardner acknowledges that his initiative is just a way station that would legalize assisted suicide for the terminally ill on the way to a far broader license:
Yet the proposed law in Washington wouldn't go far enough for Gardner. It wouldn't include him. Parkinson's isn't terminal. The disease can leave the body trembling, contorted, rigid; it can rob the memory and muffle the voice; it can leave a person still and silent; but it doesn't offer an end to its torture; it doesn't kill. Gardner wants a law that would permit lethal prescriptions for people whose suffering is unbearable, a standard that can seem no standard at all; a standard that prevails in the Netherlands, the Western nation that has been boldest [most reckless is more like it] about legalizing aid in dying; a standard that elevates subjective experience over objective appraisal and that could engage the government and the medical profession in the administration of widespread suicide. What is unbearable? What level of acute or chronic physical pain would qualify? What degree of disability ? Would physicians be writing suicide prescriptions for the depressed?

Gardner's campaign is a compromise; he sees it as a first step. If he can sway Washington to embrace a restrictive law, then other states will follow. And gradually, he says, the nation's resistance will subside, the culture will shift and laws with more latitude will be passed, though this process, he knows, would almost surely take too long to help him.
Indeed. That is the agenda and good for Gardner for being candid. With assisted suicide it is in for an inch, in for a mile. If we are to debate this as a society, it should be from that truth, not the phony-baloney ideas of "guidelines" that won't actually--and are not intended to--stop abuse or Siren-song false assurances of limitations on assisted suicide to those diagnosed as terminally ill.

Read the whole thing. It will be worth your time.

Labels:

10 Comments:

At December 01, 2007 , Blogger boinky said...

And did you catch this line:
My father might die before his uncertain steps give way to immobility. And sons and daughters like me would not have to confront so much decrepitude and mortality, the realities that keep my visits too brief and infrequent. We would have less protracted and harrowing intimacy with degeneration and death. We would be spared, and that would be our loss.

On the other hand, the Japanese are starting to make robots to care for the aged...LINK

 
At December 01, 2007 , Blogger Susan said...

If this idiot wants to kill himself, who is stopping him? He already has that right.

Just don't ask doctors to employ medical killing as treatment.

 
At December 02, 2007 , Blogger LifeEthics.org said...

He could have just as well decided that the fight against physician-assisted/aid/killing-in-death had "fallen in his lap."

 
At December 02, 2007 , Blogger T E Fine said...

Death and dying used to be natural parts of the family life cycle. The family stuck it out together, took care of their own until death, and even then the family was responsible for holding the wake (usally in their own parlors in their houses) and the funeral itself.

We've become so divorced from the natural cycles of life and death that death is both a burden (when it was once just another part of the routine, like cleaning your house), and something we fear out of proportion to the reality. And this is *me* talking - I've got severe death anxiety. Would I if our culture were different?

Respect the aged and the dying, give them whatever they need to keep them free from pain and as able to participate in the family life as possible.

This guy is griping about having to take care of his ailing father? Talk about wicked.

 
At December 05, 2007 , Blogger KATFISH said...

FOR CENTURIES WE'VE HELPED INJURED OR DIEING ANIMALS TO EUTHANASIA AND STOP THEIR SUFFERING,I THINK WE HAVE A MORALE OBLIGATION TO GIVE PEOPLE THE SAME CONSIDERATION DEATH WITH DIGNITY,IF THE INDIVIDUAL IS AT PEACE WITH IT AND THEIR FAMILY TOO,THEN IT SHOULD BE THEIR RIGHT,OF COURSE ITS NOT THE IDEAL CHOICE,BUT IN THE END POSSIBLY THE MOST HUMANE CHOICE.ITS NOT TO BE AN OUT FOR SOME SELFISH CHILD NOT TO HAVE TO CARE FOR THE PARENT THAT CLEANED THEM UP FOR YEARS ON END.

 
At December 05, 2007 , Blogger joachim said...

For centuries human beings were loved and honored simply for being themselves. We had dignity above the animals. For centuries a human being was willing to lay down their own life for another human being, even a person unbeknownst to the willing hero. We need to regain that lost personhood of each and every individual. We need to recognize the beauty of personhood again. The slippery slope of allowing humans to kill themselves, jades us as a nation, then citizens begin killing one another: i.e. (1.) sometimes for their own personal comfort- this is quite blatant in the ugliness of abortion which, always- each and
every time- leaves one dead and one wounded; occasionally two are left dead (2.) sometimes for sport which has been demonstrated time and time again in our schools. We need to restore America to her former beauty. We need to once again, practice geniune love from conception to natural death. We don't need any more cowardly escapes from life and true love. We need a REAL HERO.

 
At January 08, 2008 , Blogger Lab Rat said...

what's the moral difference between asking to have life support withdrawn (legal) and asking to have a lethal dose of drugs administered (not, presently, legal in any state except Oregon)?

 
At January 08, 2008 , Blogger Wesley J. Smith said...

Hi,lab rat. I have covered this pretty extensively in my books and in some articles. But in a nutshell, in one the injury or illness is causing the death, in the other, one is being killed. Secondly, by take away life support and sometimes people don't die (except food and fluids). Third, one is an act done to someone, the other is a withdrawal of something being done. Finally, the US Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in 1997 that the distinction was real and important. Thanks for stopping by.

 
At September 21, 2008 , Blogger Polycarp of John said...

Physician assisted suicide forces people to commit suicide before most of them want to. Most people fantasize about dying when they are too weak to care for themselves. But that's not how assisted suicide works. They have to be strong enough to take the overdose themselves. At that level of strength, most of them are not dying when they planned--when they are too weak to care for themselves. Physician assisted suicide forces people to die too soon. It is a totally impractical idea.

Doctors are able to prescribe morphine and other medicines to keep the level of pain down. We no longer have to suffer unbearable pain. If people who are too weak to care for themselves are treated with the dignity and compassion their humanity deserves, losing our independence isn't unbearable either.

And regardless of ethics, assisted suicide simply doesn't meet the needs people think it will. They'll be dying too early.

 
At November 01, 2008 , Blogger Jane St Clair said...

Please see
30 LOGICAL REASONS TO VOTE AGAINST
PROPOSITION I-1000 at
www.janestclair.net

 

Post a Comment

<< Home