Human Exceptionalism

Center on Human Exceptionalism

Kill the Bill, Not the Ill

Sacramento, California It was every liberal’s dream of diverse, grass-roots political activism: more than a hundred people demonstrating angrily in front of the California state capitol against pending legislation that threatened people who are poor, who are disabled, and who are vulnerable. Disability-rights activists in wheel-chairs marched in solidarity with white medical professionals, alongside African-American clergy and advocates for the Read More ›

Before He Kills Again

IT SEEMS AS IF HE HAS ALWAYS been part of the American cultural landscape, leaving dead bodies at hospital emergency-room doors, wearing Founding Father costumes to court, accusing his opponents of conducting a modern-day Inquisition. But only nine years ago, no one had heard of Jack Kevorkian, when a March 1990 newspaper article described an offer that seemed more like Read More ›

Dependency or Death?

Assisted suicide in Oregon has operated in a shroud of secrecy since the procedure was legalized by a 1997 referendum. But a new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, purports to shed light on the law’s actual workings. Advocates of assisted suicide claim the report proves all is well. But a close reading reveals that many of the Read More ›

Lying About Dying

WHEN JACK KEVORKIAN APPEARED on 60 Minutes the Sunday before Thanksgiving to explain his killing of Thomas Youk, a man with Lou Gehrig’s disease, Kevorkian justified his crime to Mike Wallace by claiming Youk was scared to death of choking on his own saliva. Wallace, a vocal euthanasia supporter, accepted this excuse at face value rather than digging more deeply. Read More ›

The Serial Killer as Folk Hero

THE BODY OF HOMICIDE VICTIM Joseph Tushkowski underwent “a bizarre mutilation,” proclaimed Oakland County (Mich.) medical examiner L.J. Dragovic in mid-June. According to the autopsy findings, the mutilator, after killing Tushkowski with a lethal injection, crudely ripped out his kidneys. He didn’t even bother to remove the dead man’s clothes, but simply lifted up the sweater, did his dirty work, Read More ›

Sick Transit

People who are elderly, disabled, prematurely born, or seriously ill have much to fear from the medical intelligentsia — those bioethicists and moral philosophers who have in recent years transformed medical ethics. It was bioethicists and moral philosophers, after all, who made it acceptable to dehydrate to death people diagnosed as permanently unconscious — a practice that has already spread Read More ›

Suicide in the West

WHEN EUTHANASIA ENTHUSIASTS urged Oregon voters to legalize assisted suicide, they promised an open, rational, and carefully regulated system in which physician-hastened death would be a “last resort.” Voters were also assured that life termination would be conducted under the watchful and protective eye of the state, with rigorous guidelines strictly enforced to prevent abuse. Assisted suicide was to be Read More ›

Stem cell research for the treatment of cancer
Licensed from Adobe Stock

Michael Kinsley Out on a Limb

The Clinton Administration recently issued a new set of rules permitting federally funded research on embryonic stem cells. The guidelines were hailed in many quarters as a victory for “science.” But what kind of science? Astonishingly, some supporters are offering arguments that echo the ideas of the racist scientists who paved the way for the Third Reich. The medical value Read More ›