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 The Corner at National Review and is the author of more than 14 books, in recent years focusing exclusively on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley’s most recent book is his updated and revised Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicinea warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement which was named one of the Ten Outstanding Books of the Year and Best Health Book of the Year by Independent Publishers Association. He collaborated with Ralph Nader, co-authoring four books with the consumer advocate, notably No Contest: Corporate Lawyers and the Perversion of Justice in America.

Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and was honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia.

An attorney by training, Wesley left the full time practice of law in 1985 to pursue a career in writing and public advocacy and has since published thousands of articles, columns, and opinion pieces on issues pertaining to the moral importance of human life. Wesley addresses the entire spectrum of bioethical issues, particularly relating to conscience, patient protection, eugenics, suicide, transhumanism, medical ethics, and law and policy. Wesley’s writing has appeared nationally and internationally, including in NewsweekNew York TimesThe Wall Street JournalUSA TodayForbes, the Weekly StandardNational ReviewThe Age(Australia), The Telegraph (United Kingdom), Western Journal of Medicine, and the American Journal of Bioethics.

Wesley has appeared on more than a thousand television and radio talk/interview programs, including such national shows as ABC NightlineGood Morning AmericaLarry King LiveCNN Anderson Cooper 360CNN World ReportCBS Evening NewsEWTNC-SPANFox News Network, as well as nationally syndicated radio programs, including Coast to CoastDennis MillerDennis PragerMichael MedvedAfternoons with Al Kresta, and EWTN. He has appeared internationally on Voice of AmericaCNN International, and programs originating in Great Britain (BBC), Australia (ABC), Canada (CBC), Ireland, Poland, New Zealand, Germany, China, and Mexico.

Wesley’s books include Forced Exit: Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide and the New Duty to Die, a broad-based criticism of the assisted suicide and euthanasia movement, which has become a classic in anti-euthanasia advocacy. Wesley’s Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World explores the morality, science, and business aspects of human cloning, stem cell research, and genetic engineering. A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement serves as Wesley’s searing critique of the ideology and tactics of the animal liberation movement and a rousing defense of the unique importance of the human person, captured by the phrase “human exceptionalism”. Wesley’s The War on Humans, serves as a companion, exposing the anti-human and misanthropic nature of radical environmentalism and a call to return to a human-friendly understanding of ecology. Additionally, Wesley’s Power Over Pain: How to Get the Pain Control You Need, co-authored with Eric M. Chevlen, MD, provides practical responses for those who are the target of Compassion and Choices and other pro-suicide and pro-euthanasia activists.

Wesley is often called upon by executive branch officials, lawmakers, and policy advocates to advise on issues within his fields of expertise. Wesley has testified as an expert witness in front of federal and state legislative committees, and has counseled government and business leaders internationally about matters pertaining to bioethics and other issues about which he advocates.

An international lecturer and public speaker, Wesley appears frequently at political, university, medical, legal, disability rights, bioethics, religious, industry, and community gatherings across the United States as well as at the United Nations and in Europe, Mexico, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and other nations.


Bill Would Require Federal Funds to Pay for Assisted Suicide

The use of federal funds to cover any costs associated with assisted suicide is currently against the law based on a bill signed in 1997 by President Bill Clinton after Oregon's lethal law went into effect. Now, a new bill has been introduced to force Medicare, the VA, and the federal share of Medicaid to cover expenses associated with assisted suicide.

European Court: Assisted Suicide Not a Human Right

Back in 1997, the euthanasia movement tried to gain an assisted-suicide Roe v. Wade. It didn’t work out. The Supreme Court instead ruled in Glucksberg v. Washington 9–0 that there is no constitutional right to assisted suicide. Now, some 27 years later, the European Court of Human Rights has issued a similar ruling.

A New Medical Coalition Rebuts the Propriety of “Gender-Affirming Care”

A new American medical coalition — Doctors Protecting Children — has organized to fight back against the ideological thrall and to restore a more rational and efficacious standard of care for children. It has just issued the Doctors Protecting Children Declaration — authored by the American College of Pediatricians (not to be confused with the AAP) — setting forth specifics.

Euthanize Me, or I’ll Starve Myself to Death

In Canada, an autistic 27-year-old suicidal woman known as M.V. — whose judicially approved euthanasia was delayed until at least October by her father's claim that she does not qualify — is now starving herself to emotionally blackmail the court into allowing her to be killed expeditiously.

Too Many Climate Scientists Confuse ‘Science’ with Activism

Remember when a scientist admitted to removing nuance from a climate-change study because he believed that Nature would not publish it if he did not strictly follow the favored narrative of human-caused climate catastrophe? And now — perhaps in a reaction to that piece — Nature has published a cogent warning that too many scientists in the climate-change sector conflate "climate science" with "climate activism."

How Collins and Fauci Shattered Our Trust in Public Health

The Covid pandemic was devastating, not only for society generally, but also to the reputations of our once-trusted health agencies. Two of America's once-leading public-health officials bear great responsibility for this debacle — former National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Francis Collins and Anthony Fauci, who led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases between 1984 and 2022.

Harvard Law to Teach Rights of Nature

The mainstreaming of the rights-of-nature movement is accelerating — to the point that it is deemed worthy of a class at Harvard Law and History Department. Opponents had better start passing laws federally and in each state preserving "rights" and legal standing strictly to the human realm (as Utah did recently).

The Woke Gobbledygook That Passes for Erudition in Medical Journals

Our most august medical journals are in danger of becoming more woke ideological-advocacy publications than disseminations of learned scientific studies. This is particularly true of the New England Journal of Medicine, which regularly publishes progressive gibberish pushing "equity" that is often nearly impossible to understand.

No, Doctors Shouldn’t Make Treatment Decisions for Incompetent Patients

Cardiologist and New York Times columnist Sandeep Jauhar has published a piece advocating that doctors and bioethicists be empowered to force treatment on some patients. He writes in the context of wanting to compel hospitalization on a schizophrenic patient with serious heart problems. From "Doctors Need a Better Way to Treat Patients Without Their Consent:"

Colorado Town Learns the Harm Caused by Granting Rights to Nature

The nature-rights movement isn't about conservation or responsible husbanding of the natural world. Rather, it seeks to handcuff human thriving by preventing most uses of our natural resources. But it sounds soooo nice, doesn't it? Well, the Colorado town of Nederland has learned the hard way that granting "rights" to waterways impedes all kinds of beneficial projects.