Lawyer, author, and bioethicist Wesley J. Smith is scheduled to testify this Thursday at a Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights hearing on The Consequences of Legalized Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.
In his testimony, Smith will argue that there is a proper public policy role for the federal government against assisted suicide, such as prohibiting federally controlled substances from being used to intentionally end life.
Smith, named by the National Journal as one of the nation’s top experts in bioethics, notes that: In the thirty-plus years since euthanasia was redefined in the Netherlands as a legitimate tool of medical practice instead of a serious crime, rather than being rare, statistics show that euthanasia is now almost a matter of medical routine.
Once we accept the killing of terminally ill patients, as did the Dutch, we will invariably, over time, accept the killing of chronically ill patients, depressed patients, and ultimately perhaps, even children, predicts Smith.
Adopting killing as an acceptable answer to human suffering eventually changes popular outlooks. The law not only reflects our values, but in our diverse age, it tells us right from wrong. He warns lawmakers that once killing is redefined as medical treatment, it becomes transformed from bad into good. Thus, the guidelines intended to protect against abuse eventually are viewed not as protections but instead as hurtles separating sick and dying patients from the beneficence of death. In such an intellectual and cultural milieu, it becomes easy to justify ignoring or violating guidelines.
Smiths acclaimed book Forced Exit: Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, and the New Duty To Die has just been revised and re-released with a new section that discusses the Terri Schiavo case and the pro-euthanasia movie Million Dollar Baby.
Award winning author Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, an attorney for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, and a special consultant for the Center for Bioethics and Culture. In May 2004, because of his work in bioethics, he was named by the National Journal as one of the nation’s top expert thinkers in bioengineering. He is currently available for interviews.