Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Coming Medical Conscription to Require Doctors to be Complicit in Assisted Suicides

The day may be coming, and it might not be that far away, when doctors who are asked to help kill a patient--that is, to intentionally cause the patient's life to end--will be forced to either do the deed or refer to a doctor her or she knows will do the deed.

We are seeing this conscription approach promoted in Washington State where many hospitals and doctors are refusing to participate in legalized assisted suicide, as is their right under the new law. This has angered assisted suicide advocates, who are now planting articles in newspapers and writing opinion articles trying to guilt doctors into violating their own consciences.

The granddaughter of a man unable to commit assisted suicide has written such an article. She is a college student, and grieving her loss: Thus, I am not especially keen on taking after her publicly. But she raises points that the assisted suicide movement keeps pounding, and they need to be rebutted. From the column:

The Death with Dignity Act was set up and passed for people much like my grandfather. Whether people agree with the act or not is not the issue at hand. This law has passed, and it is the right of any patient who meets the criteria to request it. But there are no avenues offered to obtain this kind of request, making it difficult to fulfill a family member's dying wish.
That is correct, and that was a selling point for the law during the campaign--that no doctor would be forced to participate. That is just as much a part of the law as the right to ask for a lethal prescription.

Then comes the wholly expected advertisement for Compassion and Choices, whose activists, I have no doubt, helped in some fashion with the writing and/or publication of this article:
Compassion and Choices of Washington is one of the only places to turn for a patient who wishes to use the Death with Dignity Act. Compassion and Choices of Washington provides support and volunteers for families and patients looking for a physician who is participating. (Compassion and Choices of Washington can be reached toll free at 877-222-2816 or online at
But having a list of death doctors willing to see people who they have never treated solely for the purpose of a issuing a lethal prescription, as happens a lot in Oregon, isn't enough. The legislature needs to pass a law requiring doctors to help kill patients:
As voters and citizens of a country that has given people the right to choose as well as many other rights, don’t let this be a right that you will be denied the same way my grandfather was. Calling local legislators will let officials know that as Washington residents we want access to all our rights according to the law. If we let this law get swept under the rug, what law is next to be pushed out of reach? At stake is not only the right to die peacefully but the right to our freedom of choice.
No. At stake is the right of medical professionals to retain their ethics and not be forced to be complicit in the taking of a human life.

Let us hope that ethical physicians don't allow themselves to be emotionally manipulated into giving up Hippocratic values--because there will be more of articles like this: C and C is on the warpath to overcome the non cooperation drive. Like I always say, the culture of death brooks no dissent.



At April 26, 2009 , Blogger Lydia McGrew said...

Interesting. Wesley, is this the first place you have seen where someone comes right out and suggests more legislation to require that doctors/hospitals participate? Obviously, the other stories you link are implying that un-subtlely, but it looks to me like this may be the most overt one yet.

At April 26, 2009 , Blogger Wesley J. Smith said...

It is the law in Australia, re abortions. It has been tried in CA re AB 2747 and terminal sedation, that did not pass.

I suspect they used this college girl as the front for the more upfront call for conscription. After all, she isn't an pro, she's just a family member. I don't know that, of course. But so much of this article and its lexicon make me think that.

At April 26, 2009 , Blogger Lydia McGrew said...

Sorry to be unclear--I meant specifically for giving patients access to assisted suicide drugs in states where it's legal (e.g., Oregon, Washington).

That's clearly what she's calling for. It's just amazing.

At April 26, 2009 , Blogger Becky said...

Everyone wants the "right to choice", until someone else's choice interferes with theirs. What's the old saying? Not in my backyard...

At April 27, 2009 , Blogger SuzieC said...

Having the right to request euthanasia does not obligate any other person to comply with that request. Not yet, anyhow.

As for direct euthanasia, our right to be protected from murder depends on citizenship, not circumstances.

As I understand the law, consent is not an issue in the prosecution of murder; lack of consent is not part of the offence, and consent is not a defence against the charge.

Please correct me if I'm mistaken, Mr. Smith.


Post a Comment

<< Home