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Gavel and Stethoscope on Gradated Background
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Humanize Wife Loses Lawsuit to Prevent Husband’s Euthanasia

Originally published at National Review

Euthanasia/assisted suicide subverts family cohesion. For example, what if one spouse wants to be made dead, and that decision is opposed by the other? Or, what if siblings object to a depressed brother’s decisions to be put down and beg doctors not to kill him, to no avail?

Both cases happened in Canada, the most recent involving a wife trying to prevent her husband’s being euthanized. She lost because the benefit of the doubt goes to death once assisted suicide/euthanasia becomes legal. From the Saltwire.com story:

As part of the evidence, one nurse practitioner said the husband met the criteria for assisted suicide, while another argued he did not. The latter “authored a separate written report in which she elaborated that ‘I do not feel he is capable of making decisions regarding MAID due to dementia. . . . He has a grievous progressive and incurable illness (dementia/COPD) but I do not feel that death is foreseeable.’ ”

Imagine being helpless to prevent a doctor or nurse practitioner from killing your beloved spouse!

We saw the same phenomenon here in the States, too. Early on in Oregon’s assisted-suicide regime (as reported by the Oregonian)Kate Cheney — an elderly woman with dementia — was determined by a psychiatrist to be mentally ineligible to consent to assisted suicide, and moreover, believed Cheney’s daughter might be driving the process. If the “protective guidelines” worked as advertised, that would have been the end of it. But, as often happens, the daughter went doctor shopping and a psychologist okayed the assisted suicide despite the potential for family pressure. And so it came to pass.

The moral of these stories: In a culture of death, death always has the upper hand.

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.